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Yield loss to Fusarium pseudograminearum of commercially grown barley and wheat varieties in Western Australia

Daniel Huberli: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

<div>Several new wheat varieties claim to have improved tolerance to Fusarium crown rot, one of the major soil borne disease constraints on wheat and barley production in the low rainfall environments of Western Australia (WA). This improvement is particularly important for cereal growers from low rainfall environments where choice of alternative crop species are limited and tight cereal rotations are common. Testing crown rot tolerance of commercially grown wheat and barley varieties will allow growers to evaluate the economic benefits of varietal selection in fields with high crown rot inoculum. A meta-analysis will be presented of a three year series (2014-2016) of experiments in two locations with 12 barley and wheat varieties in paired plot comparisons with and without <em>Fusarium pseudograminearum</em> inoculum. Although all barley and wheat varieties were impacted by crown rot symptoms, the level of yield impact varied between varieties. Emu Rock, a variety released as having ‘improved tolerance’ did prove to be consistently less affected by crown rot than other commercial varieties. For example yield losses in Emu Rock ranged from 0-22% while Justica CL Plus consistently suffered the largest yield reduction, ranging from 23-42%. Differences in crown rot tolerance had not previously been characterised for commercial barley varieties but differences were evident from these experiments. Litmus and La Trobe had consistently lower yield loss than most other barley varieties in the presence of crown rot, while Bass and GrangeR were consistently most affected. Understanding the crown rot disease history of a field and choosing wheat or barley varieties with appropriate disease tolerances can improve stability of crop yields substantially.</div>

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