Sclerotinia? Blame the weather

The outbreak of Sclerotinia rot in canol a was triggered by the weather, according to NSW Agriculture researchers.

Gordon Murray told growers attending a recent GRDC-sponsored Research Update seminar that a dry period followed by wet weather for several days seemed to trigger germination of the Sclerotinia and production of the spores. "If these spores are released when the crop is at a critical stage, severe Sclerotinia rot can develop," Dr Murray said.

Fellow NSW Agriculture researcher Percy Wong said that the critical period for canol a was at flowering. Pulse crops had other critical times for infection, which made predicting an outbreak very difficult.

"All we know is that just because the disease was severe in 1995, it does not mean that it will be so in 1996," Dr Wong said.

The two researchers said more work needed to be done in using weather patterns to predict outbreaks, as was done in Europe, and on breeding for resistance to Sclerotinia, which was the case for some crops in the USA.