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Call for plant samples from poorly growing pulses and oilseeds

Released on

Released on:
Friday, 2. August 2019 - 10:45

Western Australian growers and agronomists are encouraged to get involved in a national survey of root diseases and pests of pulses and oilseeds.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is seeking samples from canola, lupins, chickpea, field pea, lentil, vetch and faba bean crops which are experiencing poor establishment or growth.

The national survey, coordinated through the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), is part of the national ‘Soilborne disease interaction in Australian farming systems’ project, funded in collaboration with the Grains Research and Development Corporation. 

This survey aims to assist in better diagnosis and management of root diseases and pests of pulse and oilseed crops.

National survey coordinator, SARDI soil biology science leader Alan McKay, said the level of grower interest in pulses and oilseeds was increasing.

“As these crops are grown more frequently, the risk from soilborne diseases also grows,” Dr McKay said.

“The national survey will use a combination of visual identification and existing DNA tests to identify which of the known pathogens are most commonly associated with poor performing pulse and oilseed crops, and also next generation sequencing methods to check for new emerging pathogens.

“Soilborne pathogens often occur in disease complexes and the most damaging pathogens can be difficult to isolate. If a test is not available or we are not aware of what pathogens to look for then they may not be detected.”

DPIRD research officer Carla Wilkinson encourages WA growers who notice a pulse or oilseed crop with poor establishment or growing poorly in winter or spring, to contact DPIRD.

“Growers can contact technical officer Miriam Connor on +61 (0)8 9368 3579 for a sampling kit which includes simple instructions on how to take a sample,” she said.

Samples received by DPIRD will be washed, photographed and rated for damage from pests or pathogens. Samples will then be sent to SARDI for molecular testing.

“Each sample will also be analysed using a research panel of 23 tests for known pulse and oilseed pathogens,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“These results will be communicated to the participant free of charge.

“This will give agronomists and growers knowledge of what may be impacting their crop and can assist in future management decisions.”

Information generated by the survey will be used to develop tests for new pathogens which can be added to PREDICTA® B, the DNA based testing service developed by SARDI Molecular Diagnostic Centre.

Pulse and oilseeds survey
WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development technical officer Miriam Connor, research officer Carla Wilkinson and plant pathologist Dominie Wright look over a lupin plant sample.

Media contacts:

Jodie Thomson, media liaison                        +61 (0)8 9368 3937