A NEW app to boost canola disease management was released last week at the Grains Research and Development Corporations’ (GRDC) Grains Research Updates in Perth.
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and GRDC launched the new SclerotiniaCM app which will assist growers and consultants to improve control of this potentially devastating canola disease, Sclerotinia stem rot.
The free app was developed by a collaboration led by DPIRD with the co-investment from the GRDC.
DPIRD principal research officer Art Diggle said the app was designed to assist canola growers to make more informed decisions about fungicide applications to optimise yields and minimise costs.
Dr Diggle said the app was designed for use during the growing season to assist with crucial treatment decisions using evidence-based information to estimate the likely returns from spraying for Sclerotinia for individual paddock scenarios.
“The app is simple to use and easy to navigate, requiring the user to input individual paddock data as well as recent and expected weather conditions,” Dr Diggle said.
“It then uses a widely-accepted forecasting model to generate the predicted return from a fungicide treatment, in dollars per hectare, highlighting the probability of a negative or positive return.
“The user can select from several alternative views of the predicted results to suit themselves including tables and graphs.”
The SclerotiniaCM app was tested by growers and consultants from across WA’s agricultural region in 2018 and received good reviews and productive feedback.
“As a result of feedback, the app includes a feature that allows the user to email a paddock report to themselves for their records, to a client and even their mother,” Dr Diggle said.
“Short videos about how to use the app and optimise its use have also been incorporated to assist users to get the most out of it.”
Sclerotinia stem rot is the most unpredictable disease threatening WA canola crops, which in conducive conditions can affect up to 20 per cent of crops across the grainbelt.
The app draws on several years of field trials and observations, as well as experimental data and expert knowledge from contributors throughout the country.
Dr Diggle said the SclerotiniaCM app would give canola growers and consultants more confidence in decisions about whether to invest in spraying for this problematic disease.