Global gathering tackles crown rot
GroundCover™ Issue: 102 | Author: Rachel Bowman
Researchers from around the world recently gathered in Narrabri, New South Wales, to focus on reducing cereal cropping losses caused by crown rot disease.
Supported by the GRDC, the first International Crown Rot Workshop for Wheat Improvement attracted about 50 scientists from Australia, China, Morocco, Turkey, Mexico, Iran and the US.
GRDC Northern Panel chair James Clark says crown rot causes annual yield losses in Australian wheat and barley production estimated at $97 million.
“Leading scientists are working to achieve the ultimate aim of a crown-rot-tolerant cereal variety,” he says.
In addition to the workshop, Mr Clark says the GRDC invests more than $2.5 million a year in projects covering pre-breeding, epidemiology, farming systems and pathology to help tackle the damaging disease.
Crown rot is the only necrotrophic (host-killing) disease that has seen yield losses increase in recent years, he says. For example, annual wheat yield losses resulting from crown rot increased by 9.2 per cent between 1998 and 2008.
However, a GRDC-funded report, The current and potential costs from diseases of wheat in Australia, shows crown rot control measures contribute about $355 million to the Australian grains industry each year.
In the northern region alone, crown rot control is estimated to return $69 per hectare.
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