Sclerotinia management for narrow leaf lupin crops in Western Australian farming systems

Page last updated: Friday, 7 July 2023 - 9:01am

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This project will take a multi-faceted approach to determine how Sclerotinia stem rot (SSR) occurs and develop integrated management strategies for SSR to be used by lupin growers in WA. This includes investigating the host, pathogen and environment, but also defining the disease problem and determining the extent of SSR across grain production regions of WA. 

Start date: 26/04/2021
Finish date: 30/06/2025


SSR is a serious but sporadic disease of broadleaf field crops in Australia. The main causal organism, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, has a host range of more than 400 plant species including all broadleaf crop species within the dryland cropping rotation. It can infect the crop canopy and at ground level (basal infection).

In recent years, SSR has become an important disease of narrow leaf lupin (NLL) in WA’s grain growing regions, driven largely by the size of the area sown, frequency of the crop within rotation, frequency of canola within the rotation and return to more average winter and spring rainfall patterns.

This project will gather data on the economic/disease impact from SSR (canopy and basal infection) in NLL crops to growers and advisers. This information will provide regionally relevant economic thresholds that represent the loss of profit in the presence of SSR on lupin in WA.

It will also seek to gain a better understanding of how cultural practices influence disease development. For example, pulse crops produce dense canopies due to their growth habit and consequently create micro-environments that are conducive to disease development. Therefore, modifying some cultural practices - such as increased row spacing, lower plant densities and altered sowing time - have the potential to provide some disease control and/or reduce fungicide usage.

Lastly, the project will provide WA growers with more information on the effectiveness and optimum timing of fungicides.

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