August 6, 2012
Diseases cost the Australian chickpea industry $24 million annually, but the impact would be much worse if current controls were not in place, new reports reveal.
James Clark, Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) northern panel chair says 73 per cent of the nation’s chickpeas are grown in the northern region, from Dubbo, NSW extending north to central Queensland.
“Losses would be far higher without the current range of controls, which include the use of resistant varieties, rotation, paddock management and the use of pesticides,” Mr Clark said.
“GRDC has supported much of the research and development of these disease controls.”
The reports show diseases cost the Australian pulse industry an average $74 million per year, or 14.8 per cent of the gross value of pulse production.
In the oilseed industry, losses from diseases average $137m per year, or 27.6pc of the gross value of oilseed production, Mr Clark said.
The reports, The Current and Potential Costs from Diseases of Pulse Crops in Australia and The Current and Potential Costs from Diseases of Oilseeds in Australia were compiled by Gordon Murray and John Brennan for GRDC.
Mr Clark says the allocation of resources for the control of pulse crop diseases, both at grower level (when deciding whether to control a particular disease) and at the national level (when allocating funds for research and development) depends on an assessment of the losses caused by those diseases.
He says chickpea breeding and management are major priorities for the GRDC northern panel.
“Diseases cost the Australian chickpea industry an estimated current average annual loss of $24m or $81.07 per hectare,” he said.
“This loss is 15.9pc of the average annual value of the crop over a recent five-year period.”
Three diseases had a potential average annual yield loss of more than 10pc in the northern region.
The highest average annual potential yield loss was 19pc from Ascochyta blight, followed by root lesion nematode thornei, Phytophthora root rot, root lesion nematode neglectus and Pythium damping off.
Ascochyta blight had the highest potential severity of 68.3pc yield loss in years when it developed in the northern region.
“These figures provide key insights into the importance of pulse crop diseases in Australia and the value of GRDC’s investments to combat losses,” Mr Clark said.
The disease losses to pulse crops are estimated from a survey of plant pathologists across Australia. An examination was made of the present costs of diseases and the potential costs if current control measures were not in place.
The application and costs of pesticides applied to pulse crops for disease control were also estimated.
The pulse crops included in the study were narrowleaf and albus lupins, field peas, chickpeas, faba beans, lentils, vetch, peanuts and mungbeans. Oilseed crops included canola, soybeans and sunflowers.
To download the GRDC fact sheets, visit www.grdc.com.au/GRDC-Report-PulseDiseaseCosts and www.grdc.com.au/GRDC-Report-OilseedDiseaseCosts