WHILE crop disease was not significant last season, high levels during 2016 have prompted calls for growers to remain vigilant this year to help protect potential yields.
Blackleg disease already is being detected in young canola crops through southern growing areas.
Damp and largely mild conditions could enhance the spread of cereal diseases, including net blotch disease.
Boyup Brook farmer and independent agronomist Ben Creek, AGRIvise Agronomy, recently detected early net blotch infection in a local Bass barley crop, ranging from the two to six-leaf growth stage.
In assessing disease risk this season, growers should consider the susceptibility of the various cereal varieties grown as well as their crop rotation, with paddocks growing cereals in two out of three years likely to be of greater concern.
Growers have an additional tool to help control cereal disease this season following the wider registration of Aviator Xpro foliar fungicide.
Aviator Xpro, from Bayer, already has shown to be a strong option for blackleg and sclerotinia disease in canola and ascochyta blight in chickpeas.
It can be used across wheat, barley and more pulse crops and it has been approved for aerial application.
Aviator Xpro contains bixafen, a novel member of the Group 7 (SDHI) fungicides, which also offers an alternate mode of action for resistance management and the proven performance of prothioconazole.
Trials at the Rylington Park research site near Boyup Brook and Cascade in the south-eastern region last year highlighted the strength of Aviator Xpro against the various diseases, as well as its yield benefits.
At Rylington Park, it was trialed across six different barley varieties, applied at flag leaf emergence at 400 millilitres per hectare alongside Prosaro fungicide, containing prothioconazole and tebuconazole, at 225 mL/ha and Cogito, containing tebuconazole and propiconazole, at 190 mL/ha.
Bayer Customer Advisory Representative Craig White said net type net blotch and powdery mildew were the major diseases present, while there also were low levels of barley leaf rust.
The varieties feature different genetic responses to disease, but the strength of Aviator Xpro was a highlight in the trial.
Planet, Rosalind, Latrobe, Flinders, Bass and Baudin barley varieties treated with Aviator Xpro achieved the highest yields in the trial at about 6 t/ha, compared with untreated plots at 5.7 t/ha.
At Cascade, a trial in Mace wheat co-ordinated by South East Agronomy Research investigated early tillering and flag leaf emergence applications of Aviator Xpro, as well as with combinations of new fungicide, EverGol Energy, applied as a seed treatment and in-furrow, which was also compared with Vibrance and Rancona seed treatments.
EverGol Energy is a new broad spectrum fungicidal seed treatment developed by Bayer based on penflufen and the systemic activity of prothioconazole and metalaxyl.
Vibrance and Rancona seed treatments, followed by applications of Aviator Xpro, didn’t perform as well as the EverGol Energy followed by Aviator Xpro applications.
While there was an absence of significant disease in the trial, there was some yellow spot and the EverGol Energy and Aviator Xpro combination produced yields up to 4 t/ha, compared with 3.4 t/ha where there were no treatments.
Mr White said the areas treated with EverGol Energy and Aviator Xpro showed good early growth and vigour, as well as stronger, healthier plants with more green leaf area for producing yield due to the broad spectrum disease control.
Trials with EverGol Energy and Aviator Xpro are set to continue this season, including investigations into their effectiveness against crown rot disease.