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Blackleg upper canopy disease management support at canola growers’ fingertips

Released on

Released on:
Thursday, 28. July 2022 - 10:15

Grain growers now have access to a new app to assist management decisions for blackleg upper canopy infection (UCI) in canola.

UCI BlacklegCM is a new support tool for use in canola during the flowering stage, to aid fungicide management decisions.

The tool was developed by Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) researchers in conjunction with Marcroft Grains Pathology under a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) invested project.

DPIRD senior research scientist Jean Galloway said UCI BlacklegCM would help growers determine the risk of UCI in the current season under the crop’s growing conditions.

“Although infection of the crown is the most damaging phase of the disease, infection of the upper canopy can lead to severe yield losses,” Ms Galloway said.

“UCI does not occur in all seasons, so this app will inform users whether there is potential risk and opportunity to gain from fungicide applications.”

This research team previously developed the tool, BlacklegCM, which continues to be available for fungicide management decisions for blackleg crown canker which develops during the seedling stages.

“The original BlacklegCM tool has a comprehensive list of resistance levels for all canola varieties,” Ms Galloway said.

“Users of the new UCI BlacklegCM tool will notice that resistance information for UCI is not currently available.

“Researchers in the national blackleg project are currently working on establishing the relationship between resistance levels and UCI.

“Once this information is available it will be included in an updated version of the UCI BlacklegCM tool.”

UCI BlacklegCM is the first of the suite of canola fungicide decision support tools to be available for use on smart phones, in addition to tablet devices.

GRDC Manager Diseases Alan Little said these blackleg apps are powerful tools which integrate and expand on information contained in GRDC Blackleg Management Guides, with on-farm data entered by growers to help isolate and compare the profitability of individual disease control measures.

“UCI adds another layer of complexity for management of this disease in canola, so the app will help growers make decisions on ideal management strategies that optimise the crop’s gross margins,” Dr Little said.

Ms Galloway said due to high prices, the area planted to canola had increased in Western Australia and, in many places, canola had been sown near the previous year’s stubble.

“This factor, coupled with the large areas that were sown early suggest that the UCI risk could be higher this year than in previous years,” she said.

The new app is free to download from the Apple App Store and will soon be available on the Google Play store. A version that can be used on computers is available for use at https://canola.shinyapps.io/UCI-blackleg/

More information on blackleg in canola is available from www.agric.wa.gov.au/canola/managing-blackleg-canola

More information on the GRDC invested project, ‘Disease epidemiology, modelling and delivery of management decision support tools’ is available from https://groundcover.grdc.com.au/weeds-pests-diseases/diseases/weigh-up-canola-blackleg-risk-before-sowing

UCI BlacklegCM is a new support tool
UCI BlacklegCM is a new support tool for use in canola during the flowering stage, to support fungicide management decisions.

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Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad, media liaison             (08) 9368 3137/3937