Samples sought to find more information about crop root diseases

By Rodney Woods

Researchers are seeking samples from grain growers and advisers across Victoria as they delve into the state's soils to learn more about root diseases in pulse and oilseed crops.

Through a Grains Research and Development Corporation investment, the frequency and distribution of potential soil-borne disease-causing pathogens in pulse and oilseed cropping areas is being investigated.

Until recently, little has been known about the status of soil-borne pathogens in regions where pulses and oilseeds are grown.

However, a national survey is continuing in 2020 across the southern, western and northern growing regions, to build on information generated out of a similar national survey in 2019.

This GRDC investment involves collaboration between the South Australian Research and Development Institute, Agriculture Victoria, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in Western Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries, and the University of Southern Queensland.

Leading the national initiative is research scientist Blake Gontar from the South Australian Research and Development Institute.

Mr Gontar said unlike foliar diseases in pulse and oilseed crops, knowledge around root diseases was limited.

“The reason we are undertaking this survey work is that we don't really have a good handle on which pathogens exist in areas where pulse and oilseed crops are grown, as well as their frequency and distribution,” Mr Gontar said.

Researchers are keen to receive root samples representative of all pulse and oilseed growing regions, as well as observations and reports from growers and advisers.

Agriculture Victoria research scientist Joshua Fanning said the amount of understanding and knowledge developed out of this survey “is very much dependent on the extent of involvement from growers and advisers".

“We understand growers and agronomists have been seeing patches in pulse paddocks for several years,” Dr Fanning said.

“We hope this new project will help identify what is causing these patches or any other soil-borne diseases in both pulse and canola paddocks.”

● Agronomists and growers can contribute samples to the survey by contacting Dr Joshua Fanning via email at: