Rat­ings worth a re­view

Great Southern Herald - - News -

Wheat grow­ers have been ad­vised to re­view the lat­est dis­ease rat­ing of their cho­sen va­ri­ety, with a height­ened dis­ease risk this sea­son be­cause of wide­spread sum­mer rain­fall.

Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Food re­search of­fi­cer Chris­tine Zaicou-Kunesch said the va­ri­ety dis­ease rat­ing would be cru­cial this year to develop a risk mit­i­ga­tion plan for crop­ping pro­grams. “Rain­fall has re­sulted in the po­ten­tial for a green bridge of sum­mer weeds and self-sown vol­un­teer plants, which could har­bour dis­ease,” Ms ZaicouKunesch said.

“As a re­sult, leaf diseases, par­tic­u­larly powdery mildew and leaf rust, could be car­ried over from last year and be an is­sue this sea­son.”

Mace is the most widely sown va­ri­ety, with about 66 per cent sown to the va­ri­ety in 2016, ac­cord­ing to CBH Group data.

“Mace is mod­er­ately sus­cep­ti­ble to leaf rust and mod­er­ately re­sis­tant to stem rust, while it is mod­er­ately sus­cep­ti­ble to powdery mildew,” Ms ZaicouKunesch said.

“The va­ri­ety’s likely suc­ces­sor, Scepter, of­fers bet­ter rust pro­tec­tion, be­ing mod­er­ately re­sis­tant to stem, stripe and leaf rust, while it has a pro­vi­sional sus­cep­ti­ble to very sus­cep­ti­ble rat­ing to powdery mildew.

“Given both Scepter and Mace’s sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to powdery mildew, it is im­por­tant for grow­ers to mon­i­tor crops care­fully and take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion.”

Ms Zaicou-Kunesch said leaf rust re­sis­tance rat­ings have also been al­tered for some va­ri­eties, after the dis­cov­ery of new patho-types in the past five years.

Along­side the sus­cep­ti­bil­ity of the wheat va­ri­ety, dis­ease sever­ity is also in­flu­enced by the amount of in­ocu­lum car­ried over from the pre­vi­ous sea­son, sea­sonal con­di­tions and the vir­u­lence of the patho­type.

The dis­ease rat­ings are avail­able on agric.wa.gov.au, with a new Wheat Va­ri­ety Fact­sheet com­ing soon.

Wheat grow­ers have been ad­vised to check the 2017 dis­ease rat­ings when se­lect­ing va­ri­eties, to avoid the risk of crop losses this sea­son. DAFWA's Ciara Beard is check­ing for powdery mildew.

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