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Australian grain growers urged to start monitoring this year’s emerging crops for rust and prepare a rust management

June 14, 2011

Grain growers are being urged to start monitoring this year’s emerging crops for rust and prepare a rust management plan following early detections of stem rust in volunteer wheat crops in the southern region.

Australian Cereal Rust Control Program Consultative Committee chairman Grant Hollaway says it is vital grain growers monitor crops earlier than they normally would because of the increased threat of a rust epidemic.

“Because of increased inoculum levels in last year’s crops and the carryover on green bridge plants, which have thrived on high summer rainfall, we are likely to see rust much earlier than we ever have before,” he said.

“The earlier in a season a rust epidemic starts, the greater the potential yield loss.

“Growers can monitor crops by visually assessing thicker patches and by walking through a paddock to get a more accurate assessment of the whole crop. Growers should inspect the lower parts of the plant, the stem and the leaves for rust symptoms.

“We’re imploring grain growers to develop a rust management plan. It is generally too late to develop a plan if rust is found in a paddock – being proactive and knowing what you will do if rust is found is the best strategy.

“In developing a rust management plan, growers should also revisit the susceptibility of the varieties they have selected to grow and tailor their action plan to the level of resistance present.”

Timing is critical for the effective control of rust diseases with fungicides. Varieties that are Susceptible (S), Moderately Susceptible (MS) and Moderately Resistant to Moderately Susceptible (MR-MS) will need to be monitored regularly if fungicide protection has not been applied at sowing.

“In these cases, fungicide application should be considered at the first appearance of symptoms. Monitoring should continue as protection periods following foliar fungicides will vary according to chemical product and growth rate of the crop,” Dr Hollaway said.

“Varieties that are S and MS will need further protection where there is early detection of rust.

“There is plenty of help available if growers are not sure how susceptible their varieties are or which is the best approach to take – check with your local agronomist, plant pathologist, your regional variety guide or visit the Rust Bust website at www.rustbust.com.au.”

Earlier this year, the ACRCP CC launched a campaign called the Rust Bust designed to encourage growers to be proactive and plan their 2011 rust management strategy early in response to the worst disease risk in nearly 40 years.

Supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the Rust Bust gives growers tips on more effectively managing rust and adopting a ‘select and protect’ strategy.

“Variety selection along with disease management is crucial in minimising disease risk because a rust outbreak can slash grain returns by more than half,” Dr Hollaway said.

“The ultimate goal of the campaign is to encourage growers to phase out susceptible and very susceptible varieties from their rotation where possible but if these cultivars are grown, then farmers need a management plan ready in advance in case of a rust outbreak.

“With an unprecedented risk of a severe outbreak, growers cannot afford to be complacent this year when it comes to rust because it can quickly spread.”

The Rust Bust is an initiative of the Australian Cereal Rust Control Program Consultative Committee, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
For more information, visit

More solutions from:
    . Australian Cereal Rust Control Program (ACRCP)
    . GRDC (Grains Research & Development Corporation)

Website: http://www.rustbust.com.au/

Published: June 14, 2011








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