Reducing diseases risk for the onion industry
In recent years, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) has been leading research in Australia on understanding onion stunt disease. The disease is caused by Rhizoctonia solani AG8 and results in patches of stunted onions that vary in size from 1–25 metres.
In 2014, SARDI developed a best management practice guide for this disease that centred on practices to reduce pathogen inoculum and improve plant growth.
Trials in the 2014/15 season from 20 sites in the Murray Mallee region of South Australia have demonstrated that pre-planting DNA levels of Rhizoctonia solani AG8 pathogen provide a useful indication of the level of risk of onion stunt. Additional validation of these results will be required, however if successful, this work could lead to development of a model to allow onion growers to determine the relative level of risk of onion stunt developing associated with planting into a particular site, prior to planting a crop.
A project aimed at developing predictive DNA testing of soils to give an indication of the risk of onion stunt has commenced.
The project will also investigate management practices on cover crops and nurse crop management to assist in minimisation of the impact of onion stunt.
Project name: Knowledge of soil-borne diseases reduces risk for onion Industry
Project number: VN13003
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This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the Onion levy and funds from the Australian Government.