Take action to stop disease

By Country News on May 10, 2017
  • Take action to stop disease

    Soil scientist Dr Alan McKay says croppers can prevent serious crop losses by being productive and preventing soil-borne disease now.

Growers across the region are reminded to be proactive in their efforts to avoid soil-borne disease, with many croppers undertaking soil tests prior to sowing this year’s crops.

A DNA-based soil testing service provided by the South Australia Research and Development Institute showed slightly higher levels of take-all than compared to last year.

Principal scientist Alan McKay said 21 per cent of soil samples tested showed a medium to high disease risk.

‘‘The risk of crown rot in the southern region has declined, with 22 per cent of 2017 samples so far in the medium to high disease risk category, compared with almost double that last year,’’ Dr McKay said.

‘‘That is most likely due to greater breakdown of inoculum in break crops.’’

On average, Australian grain growers lose $200million in production due to cereal based diseases such as take-all, rhizoctonia root rot and crown rot, with some diseases resulting in reduced crop competition for weeds, increased crop damage from some herbicides and a reduction in cropping options.

“But if growers know which soil-borne pathogens are in their soils prior to seeding, they can take evasive action and avoid potentially serious crop losses,’’ Dr McKay said.

‘‘Results from tests also enable growers to monitor the effect of changed farming practices and seasons on disease risk and allow them to make better informed variety, rotation and paddock management decisions.’’

Potential high risk paddocks include those with bare patches, uneven growth, unexplained poor yield from the previous year and Durum crops.

■For more information on soil-borne disease management, visit: www.grdc.com.au/resources/grownotes

By Country News on May 10, 2017
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