July 19, 2011
Australia's wheat crop still vulnerable to stem rust
Wheat growers in Eastern Australia may have to spray their crops twice against stem rust this year, due to the prevalence of spores of the fungal disease ready to infect new plants after the wet end of 2010.
Crop researcher Nick Poole says early applications of fungicide only work on the young parts of the wheat plant.
"Fungicide unfortunately aren't magic and can't protect those parts of the plant that haven't emerged, so an area that stem rust builds up quite late on is the flag leaf sheath, and those aren't emerged when we put our early sprays on," he said.
Poole advised farmers to make sure that there is some fungicide left for the latter half of the season.