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Poppy Growers Tasmania Inc
28 Garfield Street, South Launceston

Prime Super are proud supporters of Poppy Growers Tasmania Inc.PO Box 3014, Launceston Tasmania 7250
Phone: 03 6343 2244 | Fax: 03 6343 2822
Email: poppygrowers@bigpond.com

Chief Executive: Keith Rice
Mobile: 0418 133 234

Not Your Average Poppy

We highly recommend that you visit the Not Your Average Poppy website to get to Know your poppies and to Protect your Mates.

Visit the page here: http://www.notyouraveragepoppy.org.au

 Drug Education Network (DEN)

The Drug Education Network (DEN) is a non-government organisation funded to deliver a range of health promotion, prevention, and early intervention programs to reduce the harm associated with alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use across Tasmania.  We have a commitment to deliver services focused on community engagement and capacity building. Visit DEN at http://www.den.org.au

Systemic Mildew Research Presentation, at PGT’s Annual General Meeting, 21st June 2018
by Dr Jason Scott, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania

Main areas of research to date:

  • Seed treatment;
  • Spread of airborne spores;
  • Host plants;
  • In-season disease progression
  • Soil contamination.

Seed treatment

  • Bleach used by Tas Alk;
  • Hot water used by Sun Pharma;
  • TIA’s own research
    • Steam
    • Hot water
    • Bleach
    • Electrolysis Water
      • Electrolysis was most effective in increasing seedling emergence and reducing downy mildew in seedlings. Bleach treatment of seed was nearly as effective as electrolysis water.
      • Both bleach and electrolysis water rely on the same active ingredient, hypochlorous acid. However,
        • bleach uses the salt form of the compound (sodium hypochlorite),
        • electrolysis water contains the acid form.
      • Electrolysis water is effective at lower concentrations than bleach. In TIA’s testing:
        • the optimal concentration of electrolysis water was 400 parts per million (ppm)
        • optimal bleach concentration was the equivalent of 2,000 ppm.
      • Electrolysis water is formed by running an electrical current through salt water.
        • Production costs of electrolysis water are only a few cents per litre.
        • The problem is large upfront cost to purchase the specialised equipment required for production.

Spread of airborne spores:

  • Spore trapping combined with DNA testing to estimate spore numbers;
  • Measuring both where and when are spores about;
  • Nine trapping locations spread over the North, South and North West in 2017/18 season
  • November through to mid-December appear to have largest spore load, this coincides with the highest growth period in the crop giving greater leaf material for spores to be formed on
  • Trapping also picked up pre-planting spores in July/August
    • These are most likely spores formed on volunteer and weed poppies that have germinated in autumn/winter
  • Systemic downy mildew is very common in volunteer regrowth
  • Cleaning up regrowth is very important to prevent systemic downy mildew
  • Even poppy crops sown in paddocks with no history of poppies with 100% downy mildew free seed can have problems with systemic downy mildew if spores are let blow in from volunteer poppies, or nearby crops, that have systemic downy mildew
  • Under favourable (for downy mildew) conditions spores can travel 100km or more

Host plants

  • Weed poppies are hosts and appear to be a very real problem and should be eliminated;
    • Especially red poppies (rough poppy, flanders poppy, long-headed poppy)
  • Papaver species are the only hosts of systemic downy mildew
  • Many Papaver species are also hosts of localised (“old”) downy mildew;
    • Mecanopsis (related ornamental poppy) species are also hosts of this mildew

In-season disease progression

  • Where disease is in crops and how does it build up over time;
  • Five crops were monitored last season;
  • Research looked at progression of disease in paddock over time:
    • How quickly does it build up and at what time in the crop life cycle?
    • How does this relate to weather and/or crop management?
  • Also measured where in the field the disease is; is it randomly spread in a field or is it in hotspots or clusters?
    • This knowledge can be used to develop strategic methods of accurately estimating downy mildew levels;
    • Accurate estimates of disease levels are important to help answer if and/or when fungicide sprays should be used.
  • Sprays will only stop disease from getting worse therefore timing is very important to get best control
  • Work in progress, need multiple years’ worth of data to accurately answer these questions

Soil Contamination

  • Looking to answer questions on:
    • How long should a crop rotation be?
    • What is safe level of downy mildew in the soil, and what isn’t?
  • Surveyed 30 poppy paddocks of varying histories of poppy cropping
    • Rotations ranged from only 2 years between crops to 10 years
    • Some paddocks sampled had no history of poppies
  • Took soil samples and tested those samples in laboratory;
    • DNA testing to estimate how much downy mildew was in soil
    • Greenhouse testing to estimate how many diseased plants occur when seed is sown into those soil samples
  • Early results suggest at this stage a five (5) year rotation is necessary to limit recurring problems with systemic mildew
    • That is 5 clear years between a poppy crops, including no regrowth/volunteers in that time.
  • When poppy seed is sown into soil with very high levels of downy mildew, disease can occur within 2 weeks of sowing
  • Soil temperature – not sufficient data available at this stage to make informed comment.

The project’s new PhD student is planning experiments to look at this question in near future.


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