A NEW guide for vegetable growers will help them fight soil-borne diseases.
The free guide, Soil-borne diseases in vegetable crops: A practical guide to identification, includes expert advice on how to identify and control the scourge of disease across all major crops.
The guide has been produced as part of the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund project Soil wealth and integrated crop protection (VG16078).
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Project leader and AHR managing director, Dr Gordon Rogers, said the guide presents the best available information and images in a practical, one-stop-shop ute guide.
"This now makes it much easier for growers and their advisors to solve persistent vegetable disease problems," Dr Rogers said.
Soil-borne disease strips around $120 million per year from Australia's $4.3 billion vegetable industry.
Soil-borne diseases, which affect a wide range of vegetable crops, can be caused by fungi, bacteria, nematodes or viruses.
Lead author of the guide, plant pathologist Dr Len Tesoriero, said it was hugely important to first identify what soil-borne disease a grower was grappling with.
"Without this knowledge, which is what this guide provides, it is difficult to effectively manage the problem," Dr Tesoriero said.
According to Dr Rogers, vegetable growers are increasingly looking to non-chemical methods to help them control disease.
"While growers are under pressure from consumers and retailers to produce high quality perfect-looking product, broad-spectrum chemical treatments to control disease are no longer acceptable," he said.
"The new guide promotes a range of environmentally sensitive approaches to manage disease, instead of simply prompting growers to reach for a pesticide."
The guide is being promoted and distributed by the nationwide Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection project - jointly run by AHR and RMCG - and funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government.
The Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection (ICP) projects provide research and development (R&D) extension services, products and communication on improved soil management and plant health to the Australian vegetable industry.
Download the digital version of the guide from: www.soilwealth.com.au (Each crop type is available as a separate download.)