What is CropAlert™ for Sclerotinia?

CropAlert for sclerotinia gives growers visibility on the numbers of hours per day that their specific area is considered high risk of a spore shower based on local weather information. It also provides a forecast of what the disease risk level is likely to be 48 hours in advance. This knowledge will help growers decide whether to take action and spray their crops for disease protection. 

Using CropAlert for Sclerotinia

For a sclerotinia petal infection to occur the canola plant needs to be flowering. This is the critical period for potential infection. The underlying disease model also assumes the presence of apothecia and the release of ascospores is occurring in the field. Sclerotinia has a short plant infection period under the right climatic conditions.

The model determines conditions that are conducive to petal and stem infection in canola based on hourly forecasts of relative humidity and temperature. The model runs on an hourly basis and as conditions for sclerotinia petal infection can develop very rapidly it is worth checking the site on a regular basis to evaluate risk.

The sclerotinia model selects a standard 3-year crop rotation e.g. wheat - canola - pulse crop.  Less frequent crop rotation for canola increases the infection threshold for the canola plant (assumes a lower likelihood of infection based on less ascospores being released in the paddock).

Fig. 1. CropAlert - Sclerotinia   (Model Example Output)

sclerotinia disease model example scale output

Similar to the blackleg model, the colours on the indicator represent the potential risk of infection based on time (24 hours per day).

Fig. 2. CropAlert - Sclerotinia   (Model Example Output)  

sclerotinia disease model example graph output

The high range risk for sclerotinia is also charted for the current 24 hour period (current risk) as well as two days prior. It also calculates the forward risk two days out based on a 48 hour weather forecast.
If potential sclerotinia infection exceeds 20 from 24 hours of high risk infection then it is considered a high risk sclerotinia infection period.
Note that this is an interpretation of the model and a general guide only. Conditions may vary widely across farms and regions and canola crops should be monitored closely.
A foliar fungicide such as Aviator Xpro is highly effective against sclerotinia in canola. The risk and presence of sclerotinia disease is determined by many factors including the number of years since the last canola crop was grown on the same area, disease incidence in the last crop and the growth stage of the canola crop.The Aviator Xpro Sclerotinia Fact Sheet provides an excellent guide for determining the value of a fungicide application.
Sclerotinia has become an increasing threat to canola in Australia in recent years. Growers, advisors and industry researchers have strongly indicated a need and desire to have a simple sclerotinia disease model available which indicates when sclerotinia outbreaks are likely to occur in order to support their fungicide spraying decisions in an efficient and timely way.

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