Wheat fungus a blotch on the crop horizon
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.