Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Towards measures of the eradicability of rain-splashed crop diseases

Bennett, J.C., Diggle, A., Evans, F.ORCID: 0000-0002-7329-1289 and Renton, M. (2011) Towards measures of the eradicability of rain-splashed crop diseases. In: 19th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation - Sustaining Our Future: Understanding and Living with Uncertainty, MODSIM2011, 12 - 16 December 2011, Perth, Western Australia



Controlling rain-splashed crop diseases is an extremely difficult task. Their spread is a complicated process and large-scale field surveys to determine the extent of an incursion over a large area are often economically intractable. A failed attempt at control or eradication of a pathogen can be very costly. In 1996 there was a major incursion of lupin anthracnose in Western Australia, which crippled the albus lupin industry. At the time of the outbreak a wide-spread survey was undertaken to estimate the extent of the incursion. A containment protocol involving broad-scale crop destruction was put into place with the view of eradicating the disease. This eradication attempt subsequently failed due to wild lupins acting as a reservoir for the disease from road verges and non-arable land outside the cropping area. There was also evidence of long distance dispersal vectors such as native budworm. Had all the relevant information related to spread and spatial habitat suitability been collected and taken into account, the decision to destroy the crops may not have been made and significant economic losses to growers may have been avoided. Estimates of the current extent of an incursion based solely on incomplete empirical data are likely to be inaccurate, as are predictions of the future trajectory of an incursion that do not take into account all available information. Therefore any control or eradication attempt based on these estimates and predictions may be ineffective.

Simulation modelling is an important method for making the best use of all available empirical data and integrating all available knowledge to predict the spread of rain-splashed crop diseases. With this prediction, an evaluation of the potential success of control or eradication measures may be estimated. This study describes a model that was built to simulate a situation analogous to that of the 1996 lupin anthracnose incursion in Western Australia, for the purpose of identifying general indicators of the eradicability of rain-splashed crop diseases.

We extended the spatiotemporal model AnthracnoseTracer to simulate the spread of lupin anthracnose in a heterogeneous paddock environment analogous to the 1996 conditions. Three control methods aimed at eradication were investigated. A simple detection model was assumed, where the probability of detecting the disease is dependent on the level of passive surveillance and the detectability of the disease.

As part of the preliminary analysis contained in this paper we investigated two scenarios to identify potential indicators of eradicability, based on the time taken to detect the disease. Our preliminary results indicate that rain-splashed pathogens are extremely difficult to eradicate and the chance of successful eradication appears strongly dependent on the level of surveillance of the susceptible areas and the detectability of the disease. The level of surveillance and detectability of the disease may both serve as general indicators of eradicability for rain-splashed crop diseases. We discuss further modelling analyses to be carried out to refine these indicators.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Conference Website:
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year