Researchers at the Tasmania Institute of Agriculture are continuing long-term research into disease management for Tasmania’s pyrethrum industry, looking at opportunities to help growers reduce input costs and increase productivity.
Field experiments are being conducted on commercial farms on the North-West Coast of Tasmania and at TIA’s Vegetable Research Facility – as well as lab-based experiments.
The research team will evaluate alternative methods of disease control to mitigate the effects of fungicide resistance, including options for non-chemical based controls.
“We are exploring options that could minimise reliance on fungicides, such as more strategic applications of when the fungicides are applied and a better understanding of how disease spreads between seasons,” Dr Tamieka Pearce said.
“For example, we know that disease remains in stubble after pyrethrum is harvested. If we remove this stubble before planting a new crop, we may be able to reduce fungicide use during the season. More effective disease management may also allow growers to harvest high yields from crops for multiple years, which significantly increases its economic sustainability.”
Alternative methods of disease management could have a range of benefits to industry, including increased profitability by reducing input costs and ongoing environmental benefits. Findings from the research may also be relevant to other agricultural industries.