Large scale survey approach for managing fungal diseases in Protea farming

D. Migliorini
An efficient tool for plant health management is the study of disease characteristics. The knowledge of ecological needs, geographic distribution and diffusion pathways of damaging fungal microorganisms are essential requisites to plan good control. Efficient treatments and the correction of weak points responsible for disease outbreaks within the production chain, can be applied if the epidemiology of the pathogens has been previously investigated. Essential data consist of which pathogens are present in the analyzed areas and how different host plants (species, cultivars, clones) respond in terms of susceptibility in different locations. Protea farmers do not use this approach: once a certain disease breaks out (which happens periodically with pathogens), samples are occasionally collected and sent for lab analysis, the taxonomical determination of the fungal agent is then used to suggest the most adequate chemical treatment to temporary control the problem. This method creates many difficulties for the management of the plantation, and it is not acceptable for an industry oriented to international trade. One of the biggest challenges for growers is the demand of higher phyto-sanitarian standards imposed by the importing countries. The export of disease free plants of a higher quality production, which are valuable in terms of the market's competitiveness, should be pursued as a primary goal. The aim of this paper is to promote the involvement of Protea farmers in a large scale investigation aimed to characterize biological and pathogenic traits of the most important Protea diseases.
Migliorini, D. (2018). Large scale survey approach for managing fungal diseases in Protea farming. Acta Hortic. 1201, 435-438
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1201.58
Protea industry, plants pathogens, disease control

Acta Horticulturae