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Management of soilborne diseases of beetroot in Australia: a review

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Martin, H.L. (2003) Management of soilborne diseases of beetroot in Australia: a review. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 43 (11). pp. 1281-1292.


Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA02150

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au


Soilborne fungal diseases threaten the viability of the Australian processing beetroot industry. Globally, Pythium spp., Aphanomyces cochlioides and Rhizoctonia solani are the predominant soilborne fungal pathogens responsible for a root rot complex in beet crops. In Australia, the disease problems have been exacerbated in recent years because crops are now grown virtually year round, and under environmental conditions favourable to infection. This has lead to increased inoculum levels in soils sown to beetroot. Moreover, nowhere in the world does there seem to be a single strategy that is completely efficacious in controlling these pathogens, so an effective management strategy will almost certainly involve a combination of tactics.

The most likely combination seems to involve fungicide seed treatments, rotations of gramineous or biofumigant crops and the use of disease-resistant varieties of beet. The first of these, fungicidal seed dressings, are a cost-effective means of reducing pathogen inoculum and protecting young beets from infection. Hymexazol may be particularly useful in the Australian system, since it is active against both Pythium and Aphanomyces. To combat Rhizoctonia, it should be applied in combination with either pencycuron or toclophos methyl. Second, rotations of gramineous crops, such as maize or oats, or biofumigant brassica crops, such as white mustard, brussel sprouts or cabbage should also reduce the build-up of inoculum and offers a tactic to relieve the problem in the longer term. Third, alternative beetroot cultivars with resistance to Rhizoctonia have now been developed in USA breeding programs and should be considered by the Australian industry. Resistant varieties are potentially very useful since they offer a long-term approach to disease management that can be easily incorporated into existing production systems. Fourth, the alteration of sowing dates to avoid periods of high disease risk (e.g. confining sowing to the cooler, drier months) needs to be seriously considered by the Australian industry if it is committed to disease management.

There is also evidence to suggest that seed priming may warrant consideration as a tool to use in combination with fungicide dressings to reduce disease in young plants. Biological seed treatments and soil fumigation appear to be tactics of limited value to the Australian beet industry.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from © CSIRO Publishing. Access to published version may be available via Publisher’s website.
Keywords:Seed treatments; crop rotations; resistant varieties; Pythium; Aphanomyces; Rhizoctonia; fungal diseases.
Subjects:Plant pests and diseases > Pest control and treatment of diseases. Plant protection
Plant culture > Vegetables
Live Archive:07 May 2004
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:47

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