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Fungicides are just one tool in an integrated plan to manage crop diseases. To mitigate fungicide resistance growers must adhere to the Fungicide Resistance Five developed by AFREN.
Photo: Evan Collis

Fungicide resistance is a significant threat to Australian grain production, posing a risk to crop health, yields, and overall food security.

As fungal pathogens evolve and adapt, the need for effective management strategies is critical to combat the rising incidence of resistance.

The challenge of fungicide resistance

Fungicide 5Fungicide resistance infographic

Fungicides are valuable tools in protecting grain crops from devastating fungal diseases, contributing to increased yields and quality.

However, the intensive and often repeated use of fungicides places selection pressure on fungal populations which is leading to the development of resistance.

Fungicide resistance occurs when a subset of fungal pathogens survives exposure to fungicides and passes on their resistant traits to subsequent generations.

This process, which results in the gradual replacement of the sensitive pathogen population by the fungicide resistant one, reduces the effectiveness of fungicides, leading to decreased disease control and increased likelihood of economic losses.

Fungal diseases including rusts, powdery mildews, and septoria leaf blotch to name a few, can devastate crop yields, impacting both productivity and profitability.

Fungicides are commonly employed to control these diseases, but the rise of resistance jeopardises their long-term efficacy. Therefore, an integrated approach to managing fungal diseases is required, ensuring that fungicides are only a small part of a suite of disease management tools, to secure the future of Australian grain crops.

To address fungicide resistance in Australian grain crops, it is essential to adopt integrated management strategies that reduce selection pressure and enhance disease control. This involves developing an integrated plan of management using several tools, the deployment of the sum of them being more powerful than one individual tool.

The Australian Fungicide Resistance Network (AFREN) with support from GRDC, has developed the five main management strategies to combat resistance.

A collaborative approach

Fungicide resistance management is an industry-wide issue requiring a collaborative approach between growers, researchers, industry stakeholders and policymakers.

The purpose of AFREN is to empower Australian grain growers and the wider industry by providing the most up-to-date information on fungicide resistance management through the provision of easily accessible, understandable resources underpinned by the latest science.

For more information about AFREN and the resources available, visit the AFREN website.

More information: Dr Anna-Sheree Krige, AFREN Project Coordinator,

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