Diseases have a detrimental effect on plants and animals and impact on market access and agricultural production. Diseases include micro-organisms, disease agents (bacteria, fungi and viruses), infectious agents, parasites and genetic disorders.

Western Australia is free from some of the world's major agricultural and livestock diseases. Biosecurity measures on your property are vital in preventing the spread of diseases.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development provides:

  • biosecurity/quarantine measures at the WA border to prevent the entry of plant and animal diseases
  • post border biosecurity measures for harmful animal and plant diseases
  • advice on widespread diseases present in the state.

For advice on animal and plant diseases search our website, the Western Australian Organism List or contact our Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS).

For diagnostic services, please contact our Diagnostic Laboratory Services.


  • Kernels infected with grey-brown balls of fungal spores

    A fungal disease affecting wheat seed. Although rare, common bunt is the most serious of the smut diseases due to the zero tolerance for bunt at grain receival points.

  • Blackening of sub-crown internode in extreme cases

    A fungal root disease that is not common in Western Australia (WA) but can build up to damaging levels in continuous wheat crops.

  • Grains are replaced by brown-black balls

    A fungal disease affecting seed heads, which can cause yield losses and delivery penalties.


  • Hard, dry purple-black fungal bodies in place of grain in the seed head.

    A fungal disease that produces toxic fruiting bodies in cereal heads and for which there are strict receival standards in place.


  • Heads are partly or fully bleached.

    A rare fungal disease occurring mainly in high rainfall areas that can significantly reduce grain yield and quality and which produces toxins affecting marketability.


  • Light brown pustule on upper leaf surface that darken with age

    A fungal leaf disease specific to barley that can spread rapidly within and between crops causing yield losses of up to 45% in susceptible varieties.


  • Florets are replaced with a mass of dark brown-black powdery spores that blow away.

    A fungal disease affecting seed heads, which can cause yield losses and delivery penalties.


  • Scattered plants with black heads or bare flower stalks.

    A fungal disease affecting seed heads, which can cause yield losses and delivery dockages.

  • Dark brown spots that elongate and produce dark brown net-type streaks

    Net-type net blotch is a stubble-borne fungal foliar disease occurring more frequently in the medium and high rainfall areas of the WA wheatbelt. It can reduce grain yield and quality.

  • Roots stunted, short and stubby with few laterals.

    A widespread fungal root disease that attacks seedlings but which rarely causes large yield losses.


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