Test pulse seed to avoid disease
3 December 2018
Growers are being urged to test the seed they intend to retain for next year’s pulse crop to avoid disease issues in 2019.
Despite dry conditions, there have been significant levels of bacterial blight in field peas and growers are encouraged to test seed they intend to use for the 2019 crop to reduce the risk of infection next season.
Agriculture Victoria Research pulse pathologist, Dr Joshua Fanning, said many important crop diseases were seed-borne and could be transmitted to the following crop.
He said growers could minimise losses from these diseases by only using high quality seed.
“Seed health tests detect the important seed-borne pathogens and will identify potential disease problems, allowing steps to be taken to reduce the disease risk prior to sowing,” Dr Fanning said.”
“Seed with high levels of seed-borne disease should not be used for sowing.”
Agriculture Victoria Research scientist, Dr Pragya Kant, has been assessing field pea crops for bacterial blight this season and has found the presence of the disease to be widespread.
She said this was a result of numerous spring frosts causing damage to the plant, which allows infection to occur.
“Bacterial blight is a highly seed-borne disease and bacteria can remain on the surface of seed without symptoms and cause epidemics when the environment is suitable, such as following frost events,” Dr Kant said.
Agriculture Victoria plant virologist, Dr Mohammad Aftab, said seed testing would also provide growers with assurance that seed-borne viruses were not present in their seedlot.
“Significant crop losses can result from the use of lentil and lupin seed infected with Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV),” Dr Aftab said.
“Similarly, sowing field pea seed infected with Pea Seed-borne Mosaic Virus (PSbMV) can reduce yield.”
Dr Aftab said plants germinating from the infected seed provide a primary source of infection, which aphids can spread to the whole crop.
“Only seed that is pathogen-free should be used for sowing,” he said.
“Testing seed before sowing will identify potential disease problems and allow steps to be taken to reduce the risk.”
Dr Fanning said testing retained seed will ensure that growers are laying an appropriate foundation for next year’s growing season.
Learn more about Agriculture Victoria's seed testing services.
Categorised under: Agriculture