• Hannah Phillips

Research to Target Pulse Diseases

Agriculture Victoria is calling on agronomists across the state to send in diseased plant samples for diagnostics as part of new initiative targeting pulse diseases. With an increase in pulse pathology expertise, Agriculture Victoria is contributing to a national surveillance program to determine the detection and spread of diseases.

Image Source: Ascochyta blight in faba beans - Agriculture Victoria.

Disease samples being sought include ascochyta blight or sclerotinia from chickpeas, lentils and faba beans, and bacterial blight in field peas. Agriculture Victoria Research scientist Dr Josh Fanning said the pulse disease surveillance program was stepping up its surveillance as part of an initiative being conducted in partnership with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and other pulse pathologists across Australia. “Pulse pathologists across Australia are currently working with the GRDC to keep variety ratings up to date,” he said. “This involves monitoring diseases for changes in spread and virulence. “To better achieve this, we are asking for diseased pulse samples to be sent in for assessment.” Samples submitted for assessment will be used in pre-breeding and breeding disease trials to help keep variety disease ratings up-to-date and allow pulse breeders to develop and release more resistant varieties. Agriculture Victoria Research scientist Dr Pragya Kant is also looking for samples of bacterial blight in field peas, and explained there has been a shift in the pathotype that causes bacterial blight in peas. “Unlike ascochyta blight, which can be controlled using resistant varieties, crop rotation and in-season fungicides, there are no in-season control options for bacterial blight in field peas,” she said. “Our research is looking to remedy this for growers.” Reply-paid envelopes and sampling information can be obtained by emailing Dr Joshua Fanning at: joshua.fanning@ecodev.vic.gov.au More information on pulse diseases and how to manage them is available on the Agriculture Victoria website.

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