Reviewing wheat disease risk can pay off

28 Jun, 2010 12:00 PM
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Melaine Kupsch, of DAFWA, checks a wheat phenology trial at Geraldton. The trial aims to improve flowering time predictions to allow growers to make improved choices on sowing time and frost management.
Melaine Kupsch, of DAFWA, checks a wheat phenology trial at Geraldton. The trial aims to improve flowering time predictions to allow growers to make improved choices on sowing time and frost management.

Growers can optimise their yield potential by reviewing the disease risk of their wheat crops and targeting resources to monitor and economically manage their most susceptible paddocks.

This is the advice from Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) researcher Christine Zaicou-Kunesch, who encourages wheat growers to access information available through the Western Australian Wheat Variety Guide 2010.

The guide has been produced by DAFWA under the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) project ‘Variety-specific agronomy for wheat yield and quality in the western region’ and summarises wheat variety performance characteristics.

“Information available in the guide includes variety summaries; agronomic, disease and herbicide tolerance characteristics; and medium to long-term yield performance,” Ms Zaicou-Kunesch said.

“Growers are currently looking at managing weeds, insects and fertiliser, but as the season progresses they will need to monitor for leaf diseases.

“Now that crops are in the ground, growers should take time to review the disease resistance ratings of their varieties, paddock rotations and seasonal risk to ensure disease does not affect production and quality as we move through the season.

“Wheat diseases such as septoria, yellow spot and rusts can have a devastating impact on crop production.

“Growers should target their resources, including time and chemicals, to monitor and economically manage their ‘at risk’ crops.

“In particular, growers should target wheat crops which have been sown on wheat stubble.”

The WA Wheat Variety Guide is available from DAFWA regional offices and on the Bulletins page (accessed through the Publications page) of the DAFWA website.

Additionally, the GRDC and DAFWA are embarking on a joint initiative to distribute the wheat guide in a hard copy to WA growers and other industry stakeholders.

Ms Zaicou-Kunesch said growers could use information from the WA Wheat Variety Guide in conjunction with DAFWA’s regularly updated crop disease forecast.

Growers can also obtain information on state-based disease resistance ratings for wheat varieties by visiting the National Variety Trials (NVT) website.

The NVT program, funded by the GRDC, involves more than 580 trials sown at more than 250 locations each year.

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