App to help canola disease management

Sjanna SandalovaGreat Southern Herald

A revolutionary app has the potential to manage blackleg, a major disease threat to the Great Southern’s canola crops.

Collaboration in developing the app was led by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development with support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

The disease management app, known as BlacklegCM was unveiled at the 2018 GRDC Grains Research Update held in Perth on February 26.

Department principal research officer Art Diggle said the app harnessed 30 years worth of data and information compiled in the Blackleg Management Guide to help identify the most profitable management strategy for individual scenarios.

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“It enables the user to compare the likely economic outcome of various strategies, such as paddock selection, variety choice, seed dressing, banded fungicide and sprayed fungicide,” he said.

“The app considers the cost, yield and grain price to generate the best case, worst case and most likely estimates of financial return.”

According to Dr Diggle, once all the paddock and farm parameters have been entered into the app, it can determine the likely blackleg severity, yield loss and economic return.

He also said growers and consultants could enter as many comparisons as desired to determine the best way to manage the blackleg disease risk to reduce its impact and optimise crop productivity and profitability.

“The strength of the app is that it can calculate a range of interactions at once to produce results that are tuned to the paddock and the local environment,” Dr Diggle said.

“It can also be updated after sowing if there are any changes to the input parameters, such as canola prices or yield potential.”

The app has undergone extensive testing and will be updated as new management options become available.

The University of Melbourne, NSW Department of Primary Industries, CSIRO, the South Australian Research and Development Institute and Victorian consultants Marcroft Grain Pathology also contributed.

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