Victorian field pea growers are being urged to use the Blackspot Manager alert service to predict their field pea disease risk this year.
Blackspot Manager has a model for each field pea growing district in Victoria based on spore release and rainfall and is updated fortnightly to provide the risk level of field peas being infected by blackspot.
The model uses rainfall to predict when spores are released in each district.
Agriculture Victoria says with a dry summer, less spores are released; therefore, when initial rains occur, there are high numbers of spores released that can then infect plants.
After more rainfall events, fewer spores are released and there is a decrease in disease risk which allows growers to identify the best balance between fungicide management, sowing time and potential yield loss.
Growers can then change their management plan based on the predicted risk and adjust their fungicide plan to the risk level in their district or delay sowing to reduce fungicide inputs.
Agriculture Victoria research scientist Joshua Fanning said a proactive disease management strategy was key to increasing yield and the Blackspot Manager was a tool that could help.
Dr Fanning is encouraging Victorian field pea farmers to sign up to the SMS text messaging service to help reduce losses from blackspot.
Information on the Blackspot Manager website is updated every two weeks from April through to June according to rainfall information.
■To sign up for the SMS alert service, text BLACKSPOT, your name and your nearest weather station or your location to 0475 959 932.
■The service is also available via email; email your name and your nearest weather station or location to: BlackspotManager@agric.wa.gov.au