FARMERS should be closely monitoring their crops to avoid yield losses from a range of diseases which could hit this spring.
Agriculture Victoria grain pathologist Luise Sigel said recent wet conditions in Victoria had been ideal for disease development.
“Diseases will be best controlled using a proactive fungicide response before the diseases fully develop. It is not a year to wait and see,” Ms Sigel said.
Powdery mildew, septoria, stripe rust, scald, blotch and blight have all been recorded in crops in the Wimmera or Mallee and it is vital for farmers to look at their crops.
“This will be a season when we see a lot of diseases in crops and it is important to make an early detection and then plan appropriate action,” Ms Sigel said.
There has been an outbreak of stripe rust already in the Mallee and Ms Sigel said stripe rust was expected to spread quickly during September.
“As this is a relatively early outbreak of stripe rust, it is recommended that all wheat crops rated as mildy susceptible or worse are protected with a fungicide,” Ms Sigel said.
Scald is starting to develop in barley crops and Ms Sigel said it was important that a fungicide was applied as soon as the scald had been observed to minimise damage.
Powdery mildew is appearing in Wimmera and Mallee wheat crops, and ideally the disease is controlled with a spray prior to canopy closure.
But Ms Sigel said a spray even at full flag leaf emergence would still be useful and would also provide protection for rust later in the season. Monitoring was the key to keeping on top of diseases in crops.
She said stripe rust, powerdy mildew, septoria and yellow leaf spot were present in wheat crops. Barley crops, spot form of net blotch is widespread and scald is starting to appear. Ascochyta Blight has been reported in chickpeas, faba beans and vetch.
Source: Agriculture Victoria