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Yield loss to Fusarium crown rot: is there a better choice among barley and wheat varieties?

Hüberli, D., Connor, M. and Gajda, K. (2015) Yield loss to Fusarium crown rot: is there a better choice among barley and wheat varieties? In: Australasian Plant Pathology Society Conference Handbook, 14 - 16 September, Fremantle, Western Australia.

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Fusarium crown rot, caused predominately by the stubble-borne fungus Fusarium pseudograminearum, is one of the major root and crown disease constraints on cereal production in Australia. In 2009 it was estimated to cost Australian grain growers $97 million annually in wheat and barley (1, 2). WA’s losses to this disease were estimated at $7 million which may be largely underestimated. In 2014, many growing regions in WA were impacted by crown rot, exacerbated by dry weather conditions during grain fill. For example, reports from Merredin Indicated that crown rot affected 30-50% of wheat paddocks.

Several new wheat varieties have been released recently with improved tolerance to crown rot. No experimental field evidence is currently available to grain growers of the effect of crown rot on variety yields in WA. Hence, there is an on-going need to evaluate wheat and barley varieties to demonstrate to growers the economic benefits of adoption of varietal selection in paddocks with high crown rot pressure.

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