From farm paddock to science labs: new program launches to protect future cereal crops

Local Land Services is bringing lab tests to the farm gate in a bid to help growers identify and stamp out cereal diseases such as crown rot.

The Local Land Services and NSW Department of Primary Industries project encourages farmers to submit cereal stubble samples after the current harvest in a bid to fast-track disease identification.

Local Land Services Agriculture and Plant Biosecurity Business Partner Dale Kirby said the forward-thinking project was one way to ease the burden for wheat growers, with many facing challenges from ongoing wet weather and flooding.

“We’re supporting landholders by making it easier for growers to check retained cereal, such as wheat, durum and barley, for potential disease,” Mr Kirby said.

“We will supply the kits to farmers to collect cereal stubble samples after harvest to be sent free-of-charge to NSW Department of Primary Industries specialists for testing.

“This allows us to quantify the level of inoculum across the state and work together to come up with management plans that will help growers and the industry.”

NSW Department of Primary Industries Cereal Pathologist Dr Steven Simpfendorfer said the collaborative program uses samples to determine the spread of crown rot in NSW and shape strategies to fight cereal diseases.

“We will have sample bags in growing regions and are encouraging landholders and agronomists to get involved to help us gather accurate information so we can build solutions that work,” Dr Simpfendorfer said.

“Growers can wait until after harvest so there will be no disruption to farming at an inconvenient time when they are already managing so much.

“We want to see growers recover from this ongoing wet weather and prepare for the next season with a better knowledge of crown rot and key management options.”

This program is supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation - project code DPI2207-04RTX.

Sample kits are available at the following Local Land Services offices:

  • Moree
  • Narrabri
  • Gunnedah
  • Scone
  • Dubbo
  • Forbes
  • Wagga Wagga
  • Deniliquin.

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