Growers and agronomists have been submitting brown rust samples to the UK cereal pathogen virulence survey (UKCPVS) to help investigate a suspected increase in its virulence.
The disease is the Achilles heel of many UK wheat varieties, said agronomist Patrick Stephenson, president of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants.
Brown rust is now being found in untreated trials of Theodore winter wheat – a hard group 4 wheat with a resistance score of 8.
This could indicate a potential shift in the UK population, said Mr Stephenson.
The UK’s warming climate was encouraging brown rust to spread, he told the AICC summer technical conference. High levels of late season brown rust were being found much further north following the hot June.
“Only 13 samples have been received so far and UKCPVS needs more,” he said.
“Please, if you find brown rust, send in a sample so we can get a better handle on what’s going on. There is certainly something happening out there.”
While pathologists need disease samples from varieties with high resistance ratings, samples from susceptible varieties are also important, said Mr Stephenson.
This is because brown rust on susceptible varieties can provide scientists with an insight into population diversity.
AICC chairman and eastern region Prime Agriculture agronomist Andrew Blazey (left) called on farmers to engage with the monitoring initiative. Providing samples for researchers was critical, he stressed.
“It doesn’t take much time to take a sample post it – and results help to ensure advisers and growers have the most up to date information on managing some of these challenges in UK crops.”
When taking brown rust, yellow rust or mildew samples in the field, growers should take infected leaves and wrap them in tissue paper, before placing them in an envelope and sending them to FREEPOST UKCPVS with a completed sample form.
For full details, visit www.niab.com.