A new wheat leaf rust pathotype has been found in Western Australia for the first time.
The airborne disease was discovered in South Australia last year and has since been detected in several crops in WA.
Wheat leaf rust can cause yield losses of up to 50 per cent, but experts say the late season detection is a blessing in disguise.
Professor Robert Park from the Australian cereal rust control program said if growers controlled their green bridge over summer, the risk of spreading the new type of rust will be minimal.
“Despite the fact that yes, we have found this late in the season, hopefully it hasn’t become too wide spread in order to really minimise its survival from one season to the next, and its ability to spread further over the coming months,” he said.
“It’s really going to be important, should those summer months be wet. Really important to control that green bridge to destroy all that self-sown wheat plants.”
He said growers will have to wait until end of the year to find out if the new pathotype (called 104-1,3,4,6,7,8,10,12 +Lr37) will impact popular wheat varieties like mace.
“It takes quite some time to get a very accurate understanding of the full impact of these pathotypes on varieties,” he said.
“It requires a significant amount of field testing, so really the issue with mace at the moment, we really don’t know, I mean we suspect it may be affected, we don’t expect it will be affected severely.
“So with that in mind, a word of caution.
“We really do need to get a better understanding of the response of varieties, before we give specific recommendations on people changing varieties.”
(Source – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-23/new-wheat-leaf-rust-pathotype-found-in-wa-crops/6880130)