Wheat fun­gus a blotch on the crop hori­zon

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - HAY AND SILAGE -

WHEAT farm­ers have been warned they could po­ten­tially lose half their crop if a fun­gus is al­lowed to grow unchecked.

Al­ready re­ported in the Wim­mera area, Sep­to­ria Trit­ici Blotch has the po­ten­tial to dev­as­tate yields if left unchecked.

“Sep­to­ria was com­mon in the Wim­mera in low lev­els last year, and this has pro­vided the car­ry­over of in­ocu­lum for this year,” Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria’s ce­real pathol­o­gist, Dr Grant Holl­away, said.

“Given re­peated wet con­di­tions, which are favourable for the dis­ease, Sep­to­ria can cause losses greater than 50 per cent.”

Early sown crops and crops sown into wheat stub­bles are most at-risk, how­ever, the dis­ease has an early air­borne com­po­nent and all wheat crops should be scouted for symp­toms.

Dr Holl­away said grow­ers should look for symp­toms on older leaves - and im­me­di­ate fungi­cide con­trol needs to be im­ple­mented if Sep­to­ria is found.

Symp­toms in­clude pale grey to dark brown le­sions, which con­tain black fruit­ing bod­ies.

To man­age Sep­to­ria, grow­ers should be spray­ing at early stem elon­ga­tion, and fol­low­ing up with a sec­ond ap­pli­ca­tion at flag leaf if nec­es­sary.

“Be­cause of in­creas­ing lev­els of re­sis­tance to fungi­cides in the Sep­to­ria Trit­ici Blotch pop­u­la­tion in Vic­to­ria, it is im­por­tant that the same ac­tive in­gre­di­ent is not used more than once in any sea­son,” Dr Holl­away said.

“Where pos­si­ble, ap­ply fungi­cides that con­tain a mix of ac­tives.”

Adop­tion of an in­te­grated dis­ease man­age­ment ap­proach which in­cludes crop ro­ta­tion, se­lec­tion of re­sis­tant cul­ti­vars and if nec­es­sary, the ap­pli­ca­tion of fungi­cides, were noted by the Grains Re­search and Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (GRDC) as the most ef­fec­tive man­age­ment tools.

More in­for­ma­tion on the fun­gus can be found at: http://ow.ly/DIt­p30epq5f.

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