New book helps growers identify diseases

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Cover of the book "Cereal Leaf and Stem Diseases"

With combined 1992 losses from leaf diseases in wheat and barley in South Australia alone estimated at $48 million, growers are eager for any weapon in the fight against crop disease.

More than 2000 of them have already purchased a new reference work — Cereal Leaf and Stem Diseases — produced by the Waite Agricultural Research Institute of the South Australian Department of Agriculture and funded by the GRDC.

First reference point

The 102 page book, known informally as Crop Doctor, is an easy-to-use guide to the diseases such as rust, scab, blotch, strip, mildew, bunt, spot, dwarf and blight. Each disease is covered with identification, spread, impact and control methods.

"From this point onward we will be using this as our first point reference book," said Peter Hardy, Manager of Agricultural Chemicals, Hannaford Seedmaster Services. "It will assist us greatly in our explanation of diseases with growers."

Author Hugh Wallwork said the Waite Field Crop Pathology Unit's work targeting drop disease, with partial funding from the GRDC, is aimed primarily at assisting breeding program to produce disease resistant varieties."The book is selling very well, and should do better when people have time after harvest," Dr Wallwork said. Growers can obtain the book direct from Dr Wallwork (08 372 2396) or from the distributors the Kondinin Group (008 99 8355) for $23 including postage.