*Information on crown rot symptoms and management is available in the article Crown rot in winter cereals
In the main South Australian grain growing areas in 2017, crops generally established late or were sown early but did not receive follow-up rains for 4-8 weeks. In the South East many crops were waterlogged for extended periods after establishment. Lack of moisture and waterlogging both limit the opportunities for infection by crown rot. Cool temperatures and reasonable soil moisture during grain filling means that few whiteheads developed due to crown rot in 2017.
Crown rot levels will have built up in 2017 cereal crops, but the increase is likely to have been small. Dry conditions during the early part of the season mean that a break from cereal is unlikely to have significantly reduced crown rot inoculum. The highly variable seasonal conditions make it difficult to give a general prediction of the likely carryover of crown rot inoculum into 2018.
Although crown rot infection was present in Victorian cereal crops in 2017, wet seasonal conditions limited expression of the disease as whiteheads. Low levels of whitehead expression were evident in some Mallee crops but not at levels that concerned industry. However, it should be remembered that while wet seasons limit the expression of crown rot as whiteheads, the wet conditions favour infection and the build-up of inoculum levels in cereal stubble.
Growers are encouraged to use a PREDICTA® B soil test (contact agronomist) before sowing cereals next season, particularly where stubble is retained and intensive cereal rotations are practiced or where durum wheat is part of the farming system.
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