Research that was conducted in NSW and Queensland has indicated that inter row sowing has proven to be a useful tool when reducing the build up of crown rot innoculum within control traffic systems. In minimum till cropping system the fungus Fusarium pseudograminearum (crown rot) has become concentrated within the rows of the previous years winter cereal crop.
Dr Steven Simpfendorfer from the Department of Primary Industries investigated paddocks that were sown to wheat, barley and durum across the northern parts of NSW. The aim was to asses the ability of precision row placement as a strategy to reduce the occurrence and the severity of the crown rot and common root rot within winter cereal crops.
#Fact 1 Inter row sowing benefits:
Inter-row sowing proved to be an effective method of reducing the incidence and severity of crown rot in cereal crops. The results show that by sowing between the previous cereal rows it is possible to reduce the incidence of the disease in crop.
The above image shows the benefits of sowing between the rows
Dr Simpfendorfer says that the fungus has a higher chance of moving into the inter-row if there was a high incidence of crown rot in last years stubble. The movement is suspected to be via stubble fragmentation. This may lead to the effectiveness of this strategy diminishing over time so farmers will need to employ a variety of tools when it comes to controlling crown rot in their retained stubble systems.
#Fact 2: Using break crops:
Burning your stubbles will not be effective when it comes to the control of crown rot in retained stubble systems as the disease lives within the crown of the plant. A combination of burning and cultivation is capable of marginally reducing crown rot levels although it may not be economically feasible as it leaves the soil exposed.
The best option for growers is to use a crop sequence that utilises break crops such as field peas, chickpeas and canola. A combination of broad leaf and narrow leaf crops allows for effective weed control as well as providing that much needed disease break.
#Fact 3: Keep up to date on twitter
Twitter is an amazing tool when it comes to keeping up to date on various topics within an industry, its just a matter of who you follow and knowing where to go. I have found that the best way to follow crown rot in any given year is to put #crownrot into your search bar on twitter. This will take you to a page that archives the latest tweets that are related to the disease. From here you can keep up to date with the latest crown rot studies and even whether farmers are starting to see crown rot in a given area.
#Fact 4: Inter row sowing podcast with Geoff Chase
Earlier this year Central West Farming Systems conducted an interview with a local farmer on how inter row sowing has suited his system. Geoff utilises a variety of break crops in his farming system, which comes with a variety of benefits including disease control that Steven Simpfendorfer alluded to. You can listen to the podcast with Geoff by clicking the link below.
#Fact 5: GRDC crown rot and inter row sowing
The GRDC covered the interactions between crown rot and inter row sowing during the crop updates for 2015. This particular update was filmed in Perth and provides a great overview when it comes to managing crown rot within inter row sowing systems.