Grain growers are being urged to increase their knowledge of fungicide resistance risks and optimal fungicide management in their cropping systems.

Cases of fungicide resistance have been reported in a wide variety of crops and all Australian growing regions over recent seasons. The problem is a major threat to effective disease control in grain production.

Now, a new Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) podcast series aims to help growers understand how fungicide resistance develops and how they can prevent it from becoming an issue in their cropping programs.

The podcasts have been produced by the Australian Fungicide Resistance Extension Network (AFREN), a significant investment by the GRDC, co-ordinated through the Centre for Crop Disease Management (CCDM) – a co-investment between the GRDC and Curtin University.

CCDM Program Leader for Fungicide Resistance Management and Disease Impacts, Dr Fran Lopez-Ruiz says the alternative to integrated disease management is a very adverse situation.

“Growers could see fungicides start to fail, which would require increased chemical inputs with negative implications for grain yield and quality and for the environment.” he says.

“If we can keep disease levels lower, that reduces the inputs required to control them.”

GRDC’s podcast series focuses on the ‘Fungicide Resistance Five’ (FR-5) – a series of practical, on-farm steps growers can take to implement an integrated disease management strategy that reduces disease pressure and minimises their reliance on fungicides for disease control.

The ‘FR-5’ includes avoiding susceptible crop varieties; crop rotation; non-chemical strategies; strategic fungicide application; and fungicide/mode of action rotation and mixtures.

Over six episodes, regional plant pathology and fungicide resistance experts detail the key principles of the strategy and how growers can put them into practice.

The podcast episodes are:

  1. General fungicide resistance management with Dr Kylie Ireland, AFREN.
  2. Avoiding susceptible crop varieties with Grant Hollaway, Agriculture Victoria.
  3. The value of crop rotation with Geoff Thomas, Dept. of Primary Industries and Resources.
  4. Non-chemical strategies to reduce disease pressure with Dr Tara Garrard, South Australian Research and Development Institute.
  5. Strategic fungicide application with Nick Poole, Field Applied Research (FAR) Australia.
  6. Fungicide/Mode of Action rotation and mixtures with Fran Lopez-Ruiz, Centre for Crop Disease Management, Curtin University.

It is hoped widespread adoption of the FR-5 strategy will help protect the long-term efficacy of current fungicides by reducing disease pressure in crops and encouraging sustainable fungicide management.

Growers can listen to the FR-5 podcasts by visiting the Resources | AFREN page.