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Ongoing project

Pest and disease management and research services (MU16003)

Key research provider: University of Tasmania

What’s it all about?

Beginning in late 2017, this investment is about assisting growers in understanding and managing key pests and diseases of mushrooms.

It is tasked with delivering new farm-focused resources and education, and with maintaining AGORA, the industry’s web-based pest and disease management knowledge database, which was established in earlier levy-funded work. Accessing AGORA requires an assigned username and password. If you’re unsure of your details, require access for new staff members, or would like to arrange a time for a phone tutorial on how to use AGORA, contact Judy Allan at judyallan@bigpond.com or on 02 6767 1057.

The project’s ultimate goal is to reduce the threat and costs of both endemic and exotic mushroom pests and diseases. Specific activities over the course the work include…

  • Conducting a review of new and emerging pathogens, including the bacterial Janthinobacterium agaricidamnosum, Burkholderia gladioloi pv agaricicola, Ewingella americana and Psuedomonas agarici; the fungal Syzygites megalocarpus, Mycogene perniciosa and Trichoderma aggressivum; and the viral mushroom X virus
  • Creating new and emerging symptom recognition resources for use on-farm
  • Delivering grower alerts about any activity of the pathogens in Australia
  • Delivering updates and information to growers at industry events and in the levy-funded Australian Mushrooms Journal.

ACT NOW

Growers are encouraged to contact the project team for more information on the work, to access information and to share experiences with on-farm hygiene, confidentially. Reach out to Warwick Gill at warwick.gill@utas.edu.au or on 0417 766 588, or contact Judy Allen at judyallan@bigpond.com or on 02 6767 1057.

The research team has produced several new grower resources since the last update, and also met with many growers at the industry conference and at workshops.

A number of reviews have been undertaken on topics such as:

  • Mushroom biosecurity. A report has been released that sets out key threats to the mushroom industry, why risks have increased in recent years, provided a case study and identified work that can be done to improve biosecurity preparedness for the Australian mushroom industry.

  • New and emerging diseases. A literature review on eight potential disease threats to the Australian mushroom industry were identified. The information, which will be updated over time, will be available to future mushroom industry project teams and a disease checklist for growers is to be developed.

The research team met with many growers Adelaide in June and Melbourne in July 2018, to present on topics including covering new and emerging diseases in mushrooms and how to recognise them, identifying and managing disease vectors, how to sample effectively, and how to identify disease reservoirs particularly cobweb and bubble. The workshops are the subject of an article in Australian Mushrooms Journal and the team’s presentation is available on AGORA. 

The team has released numerous resources for growers this reporting period, including videos and fact sheets, all of which are available on the AGORA website. The resources include:

  • The team’s conference presentation which presented pest and disease control in terms of numbers.
  • A fact sheet on Troll Doll, a disease caused by Syzygites megalocarpus, a new and emerging disease overseas. The fact sheet will help growers to identify this disease early and control it using the recommended methods.
  • A fact sheet on action points for controlling flies. While flies present problems all year round, their numbers peak in the warmer months and can create huge problems by spreading disease.
  • A four minute video on Sampling methods for disease testing and monitoring gives growers a quick overview of how to gather samples around their production areas.
  • A video on Spot treatment to contain bubble and cobweb and improve disease management outcomes, produced in conjunction with another project (MU15001).
  • Dry bubble and cobweb symptom recognition booklet.

The project team members continue to advise on chemical residues detected in product tests that are undertaken by farms to satisfy quality control audits, as well as respond to queries from producers.

Initial work in the project has produced articles looking at different aspects of dry bubble control, introducing new knowledge and outlining approaches. Rather than relying on the application of pesticides to the growing medium as the first line of defence, the articles emphasise the control of flies, a major disease vector, and the eradication of a significant disease reservoir in an area removed from the growing room. The articles first appeared in editions of the levy-funded Australian Mushrooms Journal. All content from the project is also being uploaded to the AGORA library for easy access by mushroom business staff.

Coming up…

  • The project team is working to develop an action plan for new and emerging pathogens, to assist growers in initial responses to the appearance of new mushroom diseases.
  • New instructional videos which are being produced, with the initial videos demonstrating the non-chemical ‘spot-treatment’ of mushroom disease, and newly developed farm sampling protocols for disease sampling and disease monitoring on farms.

Related levy funds
Details

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Mushroom Fund