Test empowers industry

PREDICTA B empowers industry against soil-borne diseases


Weeds, Pests, Diseases
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Growers armed with soil knowledge can make timely and informed decisions.

PREDICTA B testing has empowered the grains industry to research, monitor and control how soil-borne diseases impact farming systems since its introduction in 1997.

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This capability has armed farmers, advisers and researchers with the ability to access expertise outside of their field of knowledge to make timely and informed decisions.

South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI*) soil biology and diagnostics research leader and PREDICTA B test founder Dr Alan McKay says the testing service has progressed in line with industry need to address a wider range diseases and pathogens.

SARDI's Dr Alan McKay. PHOTO Alistair Lawson

SARDI's Dr Alan McKay. PHOTO Alistair Lawson

"Our recent lab upgrade has lifted our capacity to process around 60,000-70,000 soil samples a year and easily meet industry demand for the service," he says.

Dr McKay says as researchers have realised the potential of the science they have been using it to answer questions about the effects of soil-borne pathogens on crop quality and yield which were previously unanswerable without years of research.

Grain industry researchers and advisers have contributed to a qualitative research report reflecting on the past 20 years of PREDICTA B technology.

Report author Mike Krause of Applied Economic Solutions says the history of PREDICTA B has not only seen great uptake of the technology by the agronomy and grower sector, but has seen a real market demand from researchers, which has brought additional benefits to the wider grain growing industry.

He highlights that the research sector in particular has found the technology of great importance to inform trial and research site selection.

Mr Krause says the market need for PREDICTA B is clear, with soil-borne diseases estimated to cost grain growers in excess of $370 million a year in lost production.

Dr McKay says the future for PREDICTA B testing expansion is now focused on assessing the impact of pathogens and their relationships.

"Up until now we have looked at pathogens on their own, for example how crown rot or Rhizoctonia impacts a crop individually," Dr McKay says.

"But our technology now allows us to assess the impact of two pathogens when they are present in the paddock together."

The PREDICTA B service is delivered through SARDI's Molecular Diagnostic Centre, a state-of-the art facility capable of delivering high throughput diagnostic testing to industry.

Investment in the Molecular Diagnostic Centre and the continued development of PREDICTA B are components of the GRDC-SARDI strategic research partnership.

*SARDI is a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA

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