• By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

New Strain of Wheat Leaf Rust Found in Western Australian for First Time

A new strain of wheat rust pathogen has been detected in Western Australia for the first time after being found in South Australia last year.

Although wheat rust can result in yield losses of up to 50%, experts claim that the discovery late in the season is lucky.

"Despite the fact that yes, we have found this late in the season, hopefully it hasn't become too wide spread in order to really minimize its survival from one season to the next, and its ability to spread further over the coming months," said Professor Robert Park with the Australian cereal rust control program.

It takes a period of time for researchers to get a full understanding of the extent to which a new pathogen can affect crops, and Mr. Park notes that growers will have to wait until the end of the growing season to find out how virulent the new pathogen (called 104-1,3,4,6,7,8,10,12+Lr37) will be to popular wheat varieties such as mace.

Until this understanding is reached through extensive field testing, researchers are cautioning growers that they cannot give specific recommendations about switching wheat varieties.

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