Prof Levente Kiss shows Matthew Skerman, from Nutrien AgSolutions, the new app at a recent workshop hosted at the University of Southern Queensland (Photo: USQ)

May 17, 2022

The ongoing, unseasonable wet weather has delivered an additional headache for mungbean farmers in Queensland.

Powdery mildew thrives in milder temperatures and high humidity and can lead to yield losses of up to 40 per cent if left unmanaged.

The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) says there is little genetic resistance in current mungbean varieties so management of the disease relies heavily on the application of fungicides.

A project co-funded by the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) and USQ is working to make fungicide management easier through the use of a new app.

USQ Centre for Crop Health director Professor Levente Kiss said the PowderyMildewMBM app supported farmers’ fungicide application decisions.

“Using tools like this app also helps mungbean growers to make assessments on a paddock-by-paddock basis and and predict the likely economic returns from the sprays,” he said.

“USQ is really proud to be assisting GRDC in helping growers realise the benefits of the app and supporting them to lower the impact of powdery mildew which is a significant issue.”

Prof Kiss is also leading another project investigating the possible development of resistance to fungicides in crop pathogens.

The research team recently detected the DNA marker of resistance to a fungicide used to control mungbean powdery mildew.

“There is mutation in the DNA of the pathogenic fungi that causes this crop disease,” Prof Kiss said.

“We have found this in the Darling Downs region and that’s a major red flag.

“Through our work with the Australian Fungicide Resistance Extension Network, another GRDC-supported project, we hope growers take notice of this finding and make the most of the useful guidelines developed by the Network to apply fungicides more strategically to preserve their effectiveness for many years to come.

“These chemistries are still the best, and sometimes they are the only tools we have, to control some of the most significant crop diseases.”

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