Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Foliar fungal diseases of pulses
NATIONALLY COORDINATED EFFORT TO TACKLE ASCOCHYTA BLIGHT OF PULSES By Megan Meates ASCOCHYTA BLIGHT IS the most economically damaging disease of field peas, chickpeas, lentils and faba beans, with an estimated cost to the Australian industry of more than $120 million in annual disease control and yield loss. Dr Judith Lichtenzveig, from Curtin University’s Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM), which is co-funded by the GRDC and Curtin University, leads the ascochyta blight program, a collaborative initiative that integrates the capabilities and expertise of geneticists and pathologists from across Australia. Her team’s long-term goal is to package a set of complementary breeding tools developed by studying the plant, the fungus and the interaction between them. The tools will ensure breeders, pathologists and advisers have breeding-management options at their fingertips to minimise the economic impact of ascochyta blight. “Due to disease pressure, growers are advised to sow late or avoid certain cropping areas. In Western Australia, when looking for a break crop, growers tend to prefer non-legume options in their rotation, due to legumes' inconsistent yields and, therefore, inconsistent profitability. Overall, ascochyta blight results in lower grain yields and gross margins and in some areas it even leads to a reduction in the cropping areas dedicated to pulse production,” Dr Lichtenzveig says. “To improve growers’ confidence in pulse crops we need to develop varieties with higher yield stability, which is why we are keeping a close eye on pathogen surveillance and developing selection tools. Improved varieties will enhance the adoption of pulses. “Breeding programs are successfully delivering varieties with increasing levels of resistance, but progress is slow and the pathogen populations are continually changing, jeopardising the current disease-management strategies, such as use of resistant cultivars and fungicide application.” Dr Lichtenzveig says pathogen surveillance involves a nationally Diseases pursued in multi-pronged breeding program The GRDC pulse germplasm enhancement program is pursuing resistance genetics for a range of pulse diseases 14 Pulses Pulse breeders have been involved in defining the project priorities and are part of a management team guiding and reviewing the research. The project also has close linkages with the Australian Grains Genebank and the Pulse Molecular Marker project. Breeding material and screening methods developed through the research will be delivered to Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA) for future varietal development. The research program is pursuing resistance genetics for chocolate spot in faba beans, downy mildew and bacterial blight in field peas, Stemphylium blight in lentils and botrytis grey mould in chickpeas, lentils and faba beans. ADVANCED SCREENING METHODS A new method developed to detect botrytis grey mould resistance in lentils and chickpeas has reduced the time required to screen for potential disease resistance from five months to five weeks. The new screening method uses two-week-old seedlings, which can By Dr Tony Slater IMPROVED DISEASE RESISTANCE in Australian lentil, field pea, chickpea and faba bean varieties is the goal of the GRDC- funded pulse germplasm enhancement program, which will run until 2016. The pre-breeding research has a particular focus on pulse diseases that have so far received little breeding attention and those that are highly complex and therefore difficult for commercial breeding companies to tackle.
GC Supplement - Profitable pulses and pastures
GC Supplement - Soil constraints