Leaf rust and loose smut in barley regrowth down south

  • Kendenup
  • Albany

John Blake (Stirlings to Coast Farmers) has found barley leaf rust (BLR) and loose smut in the West Kendenup area on Rosalind barley regrowth at the heading stage.

Plant pathologist Kithsiri Jaysena (DAFWA) has also reported finding BLR on Flinders barley regrowth at a farm on Kojaneerup West Road in the shire of Albany. The barley is currently being grazed by cattle.

Rust samples have been sent to the University of Sydney for pathotype testing from both locations. For more information on rust pathotype testing and the Australian Cereal Rust Survey refer to the Rust Bust website.

Barley leaf rust

Barley leaf rust
Barley leaf rust

Leaf rust infection has been found in volunteer barley in several areas of the lower Great Southern which is an indicator that this disease could again be problematic for barley growers in this region for 2017.

For more information on BLR and how to manage it refer to DAFWA’s Diagnosing barley leaf rust page and Barley and wheat leaf rust warning for 2017 PestFax Issue 4 article.

Barley loose smut

Barley loose smut
Barley loose smut

These infected plants do not pose a risk for this seasons crops. Barley loose smut is a fungal disease affecting seed heads, which can cause yield losses. In plants grown from infected seed, florets are replaced with a compact mass of dark brown-black powdery spores at heading. These spores are dispersed by wind to infect adjacent plants and produce the next generation of infected seed. Infection is favoured by rainfall and high humidity during flowering. In the paddock look for scattered plants with black heads or bare flower stalks.

The fungus is managed by sowing clean seed or using registered fungicidal seed dressings.

Growers are advised to ensure all seed sown receives an effective seed treatment as infected plants produce no grain resulting in lost yield. The percentage yield loss is roughly similar to the percentage of plants infected. Some of our markets also have a zero tolerance for this disease.

For more information refer to DAFWA's Diagnosing barley loose smut page.

For more information contact Kithsiri Jayasena, Plant Pathologist, Albany on +61 (0)8 9892 8477.