Farmers are reminded to remain vigilant to avoid disease this season, with wet spring conditions producing the perfect environment for crop pests, including cereal cyst nematode.
Agriculture Victoria research scientist Josh Fanning said CCN could cause yield losses of up to 70 per cent in intolerant varieties.
‘‘CCN was a huge issue for Victorian growers in the 1970s and 1980s, however, the use of resistant varieties meant the disease was largely forgotten, until now,’’ Dr Fanning said.
The wet spring last year has created the perfect conditions for the pest, and scientists have seen it re-emerge as farmers use crops that are more susceptible to the disease.
Dr Fanning said CCN should be taken as a serious issue for croppers growing susceptible varieties including Gairdner and Scope barley and wheat varieties Axe and Cosmick.
‘‘Although it has not been a major problem in recent years, it can still cause severe yield losses and farmers need to ensure they are doing everything they can to manage the disease.’’
Dr Fanning said tests could be organised through local agronomists, with results of CCN levels available within a couple of weeks.
Wheat growers also received a timely reminder to remove green self-sown crops ahead of this year’s growing season to avoid enabling soil-borne diseases and rust to survive and build up.
Agriculture Victoria plant pathologist Luise Sigel said this season’s crops would potentially be faced with an epidemic of rust due to high levels of inoculum from green plants and weeds in the lead-up to sowing.
‘‘Ideally, remove volunteers (self-sown crop plants) well before sowing to break the green bridge, ensuring at least one month of no green host plants,’’ Ms Sigel said.
‘‘Rusts need living plants to survive. We recommend keeping paddocks free from living plants at this time of year to ensure there is a break in the disease cycle.’’
Ms Sigel called on all growers to remain vigilant including monitoring fence lines, silos and sheds for rust-susceptible weeds and volunteers.