University of Southern Queensland scientists are developing a multi-pronged approach to reduce the impact of immensely damaging root-lesion nematodes. Through collaboration with plant breeding companies to produce tolerant and resistant varieties, the development of effective on-farm management strategies and the extension of this knowledge, we have helped to save Australian farmers $780M over the last decade.
Dr Rebecca Zwart explains root-lesion nematodes are microscopic worm-like pathogens that live in the soil and are difficult to diagnose because of the subtle symptoms they cause in otherwise healthy-looking plants. "It's not like a fungus that you can see on the leaf, when root-lesion nematodes are present grain growers may notice poorer yields and perhaps plants with yellow lower leaves or plants more prone to wilting."
"Often the problem is attributed to insufficient fertiliser or due to a dry season."