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Case study – Lupin anthracnose

early 1850sLupins introduced into Australia
1960sStandard breeding lines developed
5 September 1996Lupin anthracnose was detected in Western Australia, with major outbreaks occuring in the Geraldton and Mingnew areas. The initial survey identified that 40 properties were infected, this grew to 133 properties for the outbreak. Ultimately this affected approximately 40,000 hectares of crop and 5,000 hectares of pasture lupins by the end of the 1996 growing season.

The Western Australian state government tried to reduce the spread of the disease by placing a moratorium on lupin production until 1998. While initally the aim was to elimate the disease through a process of destruction of standing crops, it became clear that this was not economically viable and therefore a disease management phase was implemented.
1997-1998While Lupin anthracnose spread throughout Western Australia, all available lupin germplasm was sent to New Zealand for resistance testing. Through this testing it was shown that the Albus lupins were highly susceptible to Lupin anthracnose, but there were varieties that did show some resistance.

Because the life cycle of Lupin anthracnose requires the disease to
inhabit the lupin seed, the movement and germination of infected seed is a major contibution to its spread. Therefore, research was undertaken to determine what percentage of infected seed would result in a major outbreak. For Albus lupins, French researchers determined that only one infected seed per 10,000 seeds can result in a major outbreak. Research also showed that a yield penalty of between 0.2 to 1.0 t/ha could result from seed that was only 0.5 per cent infected.

Given the issue with lupin seeds infected with Lupin anthracnose, there are resistrictions on the movement of lupin seeds. Agriculture Victoria reminds growers that the following restrictions for lupin seed entering Victoria must be complied with to avoid a Lupin anthracnose outbreak. Lupin seed for planting must originate from a state with a current area freedom certificate for Lupin anthracnose or be certified as being tested free from the disease. Growers wanting to import packages used with lupins, seed or plants or lupin diagnostic samples (including seed etc) must first obtain a permit from an Agriculture Victoria Plant Standards Officer by telephoning 136 186. Businesses receiving stock feed containing lupins from states affected by Lupin anthracnose should immediately implement best practice biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of inadvertently spreading the disease in Victoria. Best practice biosecurity measures include not planting lupin crops in paddocks where the material containing lupins was fed to stock in the previous season and managing volunteer plants in subsequent seasons.
October 2016Lupin anthracnose detected in Southern New South Wales, eastern Riverina district. A collaboration between NSW DPI and Local Land Services successfully eradicated the disease, thus protecting the $65 million lupin industry in NSW.


‘Resistance screening in New Zealand and breeding activity’ by W.A. Cowling, B.J. Buirchell, D. Luckett, H. Yang and M.W. Sweetingham. Journal of Agriculture, vol.40, no.1, 1998/1999.

‘Case study: industry response to the lupin anthracnose incursion in Western Australia’ by G. Shea, G. Thomas, B. Buirchell, M. Salam, S. McKirdy and M. Sweetingham, 2008

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