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Cereal Rust Alert for Southern Growers

18 October 2011

AUSTRALIA - The cereal pathogen stripe rust and its damaging cousin stem rust are presenting a real and present danger to grain yields in high rainfall zone (HRZ) cereal crops - despite the late onset of incursions.

Professor Colin Wellings (on secondment from NSW Department of Primary Industries) University of Sydney’s Plant Breeding Institute, Cobbitty, NSW has urged growers to monitor crops closely for signs of rust.

“With the wet season over 2010-11 there was every opportunity for rust to survive over that period and yet surprisingly the stripe rust epidemic began relatively late this year,” Prof Wellings said.

“Disease began to appear in commercial crops in July representing a six to eight week delay in the beginning of the epidemic.

"That was good news – the later we can delay the start of the epidemic the more we can contain the disease and keep the inoculum to manageable levels.”

Prof Wellings said the late onset was largely due to growers taking a proactive approach including early management options such as fungicides on fertiliser and seed and in-furrow.

He said tankmixing fungicides with herbicides for early broadleaf control had been effective in controlling rusts and other diseases.

“The pathotypes coming into the Cereal Rust Laboratory as samples are dominated by the WA17 pathotype so growers growing vulnerable varieties will need to monitor crops.

“They will need to intervene quickly if they are growing varieties in the moderately susceptible category or higher.”

Prof Wellings said with crops ranging from full flag leaf emergence to early grain fill growers would need to be keeping a close eye on crop health from this period onwards, particuarly in the eastern wheatbelt.

He said WA had been largely unaffected by stripe rust and the situation was well under control. The disease had not survived to a large extent over the summer period.

“Moving into late spring and summer our message to growers is to monitor and intervene with fungicide in a timely manner and this should ensure that canopies are in a good position to maximise yields.”

TheCropSite News Desk



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