Growers and advisors will be equipped with the skills to identify and manage soil-borne root diseases in modern farming systems via a series of practical workshops to be held across South Australia this August.
The South Australian Grain Industry Trust funded workshops will get to the root of plant health management in the state's major growing regions, while also giving growers and advisors the chance to scrutinise and diagnose root diseases in practice.
Pathologists from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) will discuss the importance on checking root systems and not diagnose disease by crop symptoms alone. SARDI senior research officer soil biology and diagnostics, Dr Katherine Linsell, said cereal root diseases cost grain growers in excess of $200 million annually in lost production.
"Much of this loss can be prevented and these workshops will assist growers and advisers to reduce this impact," she said.
The workshops series features a practical exercise where participants take along and score the health of their own cereal or pulse plant samples.
"We have worked hard to make these workshop directly related to growers own growing conditions, so all participants bring in samples of their own plants from good and poor growing areas in the crop," Dr Linsell said.
"We will then take the plants back to SARDI and run tests for cereal and pulse root pathogens on the grower's samples to measure the levels of each pathogen present.
"We will provide participants with the DNA results for their samples about three to four weeks after the workshop, so they can see if their disease diagnosis was correct."
Workshops will be held at Lock on August 10, Kimba on August 11 and Gladstone on August 12.
Registration is essential as there will be limited spaces due to social distancing requirements.
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