CropAlert — Pre-Season Newsletter April 2023

CropAlert — Pre-Season Newsletter April 2023

Dear CropAlert subscriber,

The 2023 Cereal and Pulse Disease Guides are now available on the Agriculture Victoria website.

The 2023 season has the highest disease risk at the start of the season in many years and proactive disease management is essential to avoid grain yield losses.  This is due to the widespread green bridge across the eastern states and high levels of stubble from the last two seasons. Rusts are of considerable concern as infection was significant in 2022. Stubble borne diseases, such as septoria tritici blotch in wheat, net blotches of barley and botrytis, chocolate spot and ascochyta blight in pulses will also be of concern. Environmental conditions during winter and spring will be crucial in determining the amount of disease that develops.

Growers should:

  1. avoid planting pulse crops into or adjacent to paddocks where there was disease during 2022,
  2. sow disease free seed,
  3. use fungicidal seed dressings where applicable,
  4. avoid susceptible varieties,
  5. monitor crops from early stages of development for early detection of important diseases,
  6. implement a fungicide management plan.

2023 Disease guides

The 2023 Victorian Cereal and Pulse Disease Guides are now available on the Agriculture Victoria website via the links below, AppleBooks, and attached to this email. These guides provide access to the latest disease ratings.

Cereal Disease Guide or (AppleBooks)

Pulse Disease Guide  or (AppleBooks)

Canola blackleg ratings can be found in the Blackleg Management Guide or in the BlacklegCM app.

Green bridge

Summer rainfall across eastern Australia has led to the establishment of a green bridge. The green bridge plays an important role in the lifecycle of diseases such as cereal rusts, powdery mildew and aphid borne viruses. As a result, the risk of stripe rust is extremely high this year. Crops will need to be monitored from early establishment to determine individual crop management strategies. Susceptible varieties will be at much greater risk of yield loss and growers can use the resistance ratings in the disease guides to help determine the risk to their crop.  Further information can also be found in the GRDC green bridge factsheet at

Sclerotinia in pulses

Sclerotinia white mould in pulse crops has become an increasing issue in the Wimmera and Mallee over the last 5 years. Surveys in 2022 found that sclerotinia was widespread across the Wimmera and Mallee but the level of infection varied for each paddock. Growers are encouraged to monitor for the disease as high infection levels were recorded in individual paddocks. For further information on controlling sclerotinia please visit:  Sclerotinia in Victorian Pulses – Field Crop Diseases Victoria

Stubble-borne diseases and contaminated grain

High biomass during 2022 has resulted in high levels of stubble-borne disease inoculum for most crops. Some diseases also resulted in seed infection, or contamination of seed lots through sclerotia. Diseases of particular concern are in barley (SFNB, NFNB and scald), wheat (septoria blotch), oats (red leather leaf), faba beans (chocolate spot), and lentil (botrytis grey mould and sclerotinia). Strategies to reduce the risk of yield and quality losses, include growing more resistant varieties (information can be found in the 2023 disease guides) and avoiding paddocks with infected stubble from the same crop. A PREDICTAB test may also be of assistance when determining soil/stubble borne disease risk. Further information on disease carryover can be found in the article Disease carryover between seasons.

For crop and disease specific information the “Identification and management of field crop diseases in Victoria” manual can be found under the resources tab on the Field Crop Diseases Victoria webpage.

Apps for managing in crop disease

Apps for iPads and Tablets have been released over the last few years to help with the management of blackleg and sclerotinia in canola and stripe rust and yellow leaf spot in wheat. These apps are BlacklegCM, BlacklegUCI, SclerotiniaCM, YellowSpotWM and StripeRustWM, respectively.

These apps help identify management strategies, such as cultivar choice, fungicide application, and/or paddock choice, that can be used to minimise yield loss due to the disease and improve economic returns. The apps are available for free download from the Google Play Store and iTunes Store by searching for the app name.

For the management of blackspot in field peas there is Blackspot Manager.  Blackspot Manager is a tool to predict the risk of blackspot infection in field peas. This allows growers to alter their management plan based on the risk of blackspot in their local area. To subscribe to this free service, text ‘blackspot’, your name and nearest weather station to 0475 959 932 or email [email protected].

Events for farmers

Agriculture Victoria will be holding events related to farm business and climate resilience, biosecurity and flood recovery this season.

If you have clients interested in being added to our events email list, please contact Julio Vargas: [email protected]

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