Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 4425 IREC Farmers' Newsletter No. 197 — Autumn 2017 Risk of sclerotinia stem rot Sclerotinia stem rot, a common fungal disease of broadleaf crops such as canola, has become more prevalent in chickpeas and lentils. The disease had an impact on crop yields in many regions in 2016 and must be considered when selecting paddocks for broadleaf crops in the 2017 season and beyond. Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, the fungus that causes sclerotinia stem rot, has a wide host range including many common broadleaf weed species and nearly all of the broadleaf crops. Ideal conditions last season will have boosted inoculum levels in paddocks growing these crops and weeds. The main drivers of disease severity are the frequency and amount of late winter and spring rainfall, the length of crop flowering and how frequently a broadleaf crop has been grown in each paddock. The survival structures of the pathogen are known as ‘sclerotes’ and can remain viable in the soil for as long as ten years. Many foliar pathogens of pulse crops such as Ascochyta and Botrytis, also survive in old stubble residue, ready to release spores the following year to infect emerging crops. When planning the pulse crop, select paddocks that are coming out of cereal crops and preferably not adjacent to last season’s pulse stubble. in India is still expected later in 2017, which will see buyers looking to import more grain. Pulse Australia recommends growers take a prudent approach to budgets for irrigated pulses as both production and price risk are likely to influence the 2017 crop. At a farm level, paddock selection will be an important factor. In particular, growers are advised to take into account the higher disease pressure experienced in many broadleaf crops in 2016, due to prolonged wet conditions in winter and spring. Chickpea Chickpea was first produced in the Middle East about 7000 years ago and is now produced in over 50 countries and on all continents. Globally, the marketed volume is only 5–8% of the total production as most chickpeas are consumed in the countries where they are produced. In contrast, about 95% of the Australian chickpea crop is exported. The price of chickpeas as a commodity is relatively volatile, rising and falling in line with supply and demand. In recent years the price of chickpeas has generally shown a rising trend as production in the traditional countries has fluctuated with often-reduced production for a number of reasons. This situation is connected with insufficient expansion of production in the importing countries to meet their domestic demand. Full or supplementary irrigation of Australian chickpea crops is common in districts where chickpea is grown in rotation with other irrigated crops. Management requirements for irrigated chickpea are the same as for dryland crops but their sensitivity to waterlogging, for even a short time, can result in severe losses, particularly if the crop is also under stress from herbicides or disease. With the larger planted area in 2016, and being such a wet season, disease management was a problem for growers and it is expected that disease inoculum will be at high levels in soils and on retained stubble for the 2017 season. Ascochyta, botrytis and sclerotinia all caused yield losses in 2016 and will need to be managed carefully in 2017. Ascochyta and botrytis spores can be carried on seed so be careful to source planting seed for planting from a disease-free crop and use a suitable fungicide seed dressing. Botrytis and sclerotinia both have wide host ranges, enabling a build- up of inoculum in paddocks. Fungicide treatments during the season need to give continuous protection to new growth, especially as the crop gets into the danger period in spring. Budget for 4 or 5 protective sprays around 2–3 weeks apart and be prepared to apply additional sprays, depending on the seasonal conditions. An important aspect of growing chickpeas to get the full nitrogen benefit for future rotation crops is proper rhizobia inoculation. Seed needs to be inoculated for every crop (Group N) and there is a variety of inoculum types available, such as granular, freeze dried or the standard peat types, that will suit different situations. Rhizobia bacteria are very sensitive to heat, acid soils and fungicidal seed treatments. Seed needs to be inoculated immediately prior to sowing, after applying the fungicide treatment to the seed. Using sprinkler irrigation equipment reduces the risk of waterlogging, even during flowering and pod-fill, however there may be a higher risk of foliar disease, e.g. botrytis grey mould and ascochyta blight, due to the increased irrigation frequency and leaf wetness. Pre-irrigate to fill the moisture profile prior to planting chickpea crops, unless there has already been sufficient rainfall. Watering up is most effective in bed, row and sprinkler systems, but is not recommended for border check layout unless soil moisture is insufficient to achieve a uniform germination. About 95% of the Australian chickpea crop is exported. The price of chickpeas as a commodity is relatively volatile, rising and falling in line with supply and demand. As a general rule, irrigation of the emerged crop should start early when there is a deficit of between 30–40 mm and around 60–70% field capacity. Schedule irrigation using soil moisture indicators rather than the crop growth stage. Time irrigation to prevent moisture stress during flowering and podding and to reduce the impact of high temperatures on yield, quality and grain size. This is particularly important with large kabuli types. Chickpea is very sensitive to waterlogging during flowering and podding, so great care is required to provide adequate soil moisture without causing waterlogging.