Equipping grain growers and advisers with the information and advice they need to protect crops from disease when fungicide resistance has developed was a key topic at the National Fungicide Resistance Workshop held recently in Melbourne.
Organised by the Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM), the workshop brought together 35 plant pathologists, chemical company representatives, industry regulators and advisers from across Australia to find solutions to common challenges around fungicide resistance.
The CCDM is a national research centre co-supported by Curtin University and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
CCDM Co-Director, Mark Gibberd, said a major discussion point of the day focused around a recent situation that arose in South Australia, where net form net blotch of barley had been identified as fungicide resistant to some actives compounds from within two fungicide chemical groups – Group 7 (Succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors (SDHIs)) and group 3 (Demethylase inhibitors (DMIs)).
“Having a real and recent case where resistance has emerged as an issue helped to focus the workshop. This is a real life example where growers now have very limited options available to manage disease,” Professor Gibberd said.
“The workshop discussed what we should be doing as an industry to prevent this from happening again.
“It is not enough to have extension of messages coming from all different avenues and just hoping we can avoid fungicide resistance, we need to work together and ensure everyone is on the right page, which is why workshops like this one are so important.”
CCDM Fungicide Resistance Management and Disease Impacts theme leader Fran Lopez-Ruiz said the workshop highlighted an industry need and demand for immediate and consistent messaging when it comes to dealing with fungicide resistance.
“It is now clear from the workshop that we have a lot of work to do to improve extension messaging, but I am very hopeful we will get there, especially since one of the the key points agreed upon is the need to have everyone on board – researchers and advisers – to push messages forward,” Dr Lopez-Ruiz said.
“Each time we host this biennial workshop we take steps toward improving the channels for giving the right advice and finding the balance in what industry needs to hear.”
To avoid mixed messaging across the Australian grain growing regions, participants worked together to standardise the definitions for fungicide resistance and reduced sensitivity, in particular looking to eliminate the grey area between the two and to develop a simple traffic light system.
The current real life examples of fungicide resistance have galvanised the need for all of industry to seek maintaining host resistance and chemical efficacy as a dual approach to best management practice for disease control.
Representatives at the workshop came from agricultural departments in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, as well as the University of Southern Queensland, Foundation for Arable Research, BASF, Bayer CropScience, Corteva Agriscience, Sipcam Pacific Australia, Syngenta, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), Landmark, Central Ag Solutions, Agrivision Consultants, the GRDC and the CCDM.
A workshop report will now be developed and made available via the CCDM website in early 2020.