A serious crown rot infection can cause yield losses of 90 per cent in durum wheat and 50 per cent in bread wheat, but a new fact sheet to beat the rot is helping grain farmers fight back.
Crown rot in winter cereals tips and tactics has been developed by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and is geared towards Victorian and South Australian farmers.
With input from grains advisers within the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), the fact sheet gives the three top tips to stopping crown rot: rotate your crops, monitor plants for browning at the base of tillers, and test stubble and soil.
DEDJTR Grains Extension Plan Pathologist Luise Sigel said rotating crops was the most important management option.
‘‘A grass-free break from winter cereals is the best way to lower crown rot inoculum levels,’’ Ms Sigel said.
‘‘Check plants for browning at the base of infected tillers, as this is the most reliable indicator of crown rot, and don’t rely solely on white heads as an indicator.’’
Testing can be done with a pre-sowing PreDicta B soil test, which will help to identify if paddocks are at risk of crown rot.
Ms Sigel said farmers should avoid sowing wheat into paddocks with high crown rot levels.
‘‘Choosing more resistant crops can help, but this still needs to be combined with effective management.’’
The tips and tactics guide also explains in-paddock treatments that can reduce yield losses, includes a frequently asked questions section and gives links to useful resources.
For more information about the guide, visit the GRDC website at www.grdc.com.au/CrownRotWinterCereals Southern