Dry conditions across the medium and low rainfall zones in South Australia and Victoria hasn’t stopped the development of ascochyta blight in some chickpea and lentil crops. In spite of low seasonal rainfall, the frequent rainfall events during August along with heavy dews have provided suitable conditions for infection in some crops. Severe ascochyta blight infection has been seen in a number of varieties including, Genesis090 and PBA Monarch chickpea crops in SA and Victoria, including upper YP, lower north of SA, and Wimmera regions.
This season, like any other, growers and advisors should continue to:
- monitor pulse crops to determine levels of infection,
- consider the disease resistance rating of the variety they are growing,
- apply fungicides in chickpeas ahead of rain events to prevent infection or reduce disease spread,
- in lentils consider if a fungicide is required during podding to prevent ascochyta blight infection on seed and pods,
- use higher label rates in infected crops to increase efficacy.
Despite the drier than average season, ascochyta is able to cause significant crop damage and yield loss in both lentils and chickpeas. Should conditions remain dry, a fungicide spray may not be warranted. But, it is important to continue to monitor for infection to proactively protect crops and minimise yield losses should rain events occur which cause infection and spread of the disease. Fungicides should be applied in chickpea crops with ascochyta blight infection, timed ahead of rainfall events. If ascochyta blight is seen in lentil crops, it may be necessary to spray during podding, ahead of major rain events, to prevent pod and seed infection.
Grant Hollaway, Agriculture Victoria