AGRICULTURE Victoria has responded to a rising interest in oat production for domestic and export grain and hay markets with research aimed at understanding how growers can better manage crop disease.
This year, plant pathologists at Horsham are running field trials to determine the yield loss of commercially grown and yet-to-be released oat varieties that is caused by the stubble-borne disease red leather leaf. They are also examining the effectiveness of control provided by different fungicides.
Agriculture Victoria research scientist, Mark McLean, said red leather leaf is the main disease concern for growers in southern Australia.
“To date, there has not been very much research into red leather leaf and there are no registered fungicides for its control,” he said.
“As the name suggests, infection causes red lesions of the leaves, which can reduce the visual quality of the resulting hay, causing price reductions.
“It is also likely to cause grain yield losses to milling oats.”
Cereal Pathology Technical Officer Laura Roden, who is managing the oat pathology trials at Agriculture Victoria’s plant breeding centre near Horsham, said the impact of red leather leaf on grain and hay yield will be examined to further determine its economic impact.
“We will measure disease development during the season and record hay and grain yields of different oat varieties and compare how they performed with and without the presence of the disease,” she said.
Ms Roden said breeders’ lines that are being considered for commercial release are also being tested in the disease nursery to determine their susceptibility to red-leather leaf.
“Current recommendations are to avoid sowing susceptible varieties back-to-back to protect crops,” she said.
Agriculture Victoria oat research is being carried out in collaboration with the South Australian Research and Development Institute and the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, with investment from the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
Source: Agriculture Victoria