Plan to preserve rust resistance

A photo of a leaf afflicted with rust

Variety selection is the first line of defence for growers keen to minimise the effects of cereal rust diseases in the 2013 growing season.

Growers are urged to eliminate varieties that are susceptible or very susceptible to rusts from their cropping programs to help preserve the disease resistance that protects many Australian crops. The risks of a large-scale rust outbreak and mutant rust isolates that can overcome resistance genes are of particular concern.

In 2011, an industry survey found that growers generally choose varieties based on yield potential, without considering the costs of disease management and yield losses. However, a variety’s resistance rating is an important consideration because a rust outbreak can reduce cropping returns by more than 50 per cent.

Rust facts

  • There are three rust diseases affecting wheat, stripe, stem and leaf, which all occur in Australia