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Agronomists on course to tackle cereal root diseases

Alan McKay. Image supplied by GRDC

Agronomists across Australia’s grain-growing regions are being invited to participate in the 2017 PREDICTA® B Root Disease Risk Management Courses. Each one-day course provides accreditation for delivering PREDICTA® B – the DNA-based soil testing service which enables identification of the pathogens posing the greatest risk to cereal crops.

A Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) investment, PREDICTA® B is a service provided by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).

Dr Alan McKay, the leader of SARDI’s Soil Biology and Molecular Diagnostics group, says Australian grain growers each year incur on average more than $200 million in lost production due to cereal root diseases. “By using PREDICTA® B, combined with advice from an accredited agronomist, disease pathogens can be detected and managed before losses occur,” says Dr McKay, who will be among the national and regional research leaders presenting at the courses.

Dr McKay says the courses will cover the main soilborne diseases for each respective region, including rhizoctonia, crown rot and root lesion nematodes. New tests for ascochyta blight and phytophthora root rot of chickpea, yellow leaf spot and white grain disorder of wheat, charcoal rot and long fallow disorder will also be discussed.

Other course topics include: yield loss risk categories for established tests and population density categories for new tests; disease management options; effects of season; soil sampling strategies; interpreting and understanding PREDICTA® B results; and using PREDICTA® B to make better informed variety, rotation and paddock management decisions.

Courses in the southern cropping region will be held in:

  • SA – Adelaide (SARDI Plant Research Centre, Waite campus) on November 6 2017; and
  • Victoria – Bendigo (The Capital, Bendigo Bank Theatre) on November 9 2017.

Source: GRDC

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