Crown rot, a fungal soil borne disease of wheat caused by several species of Fusarium, causes significant yield losses on wheat, especially under postanthesis drought stress, and is particularly problematic in cereal based cropping systems with limited rotations. To capture the current knowledge and create a plan for future research, the First International Crown Rot Workshop for Wheat Improvement meeting was held during 22-23 October 2012 at the Crossing Theatre in the cereal production town of Narrabri, New South Wales, Australia. The meeting was hosted by The University of Sydney and attended by 60 participants from Australia, USA, Turkey, China, Iran, and Morocco. The workshop was financed by the Australian Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC), Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences, and the Crawford Fund in Australia; and coordinated and led by senior CIMMYT wheat pathologist Julie Nicol in collaboration with Stephen Neate (principal pathologist, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Queensland), Timothy Paulitz (principal pathologist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Washington State University, USA), and Richard Trethowan (professor of plant breeding, University of Sydney, Australia).
The workshop consisted of 58 presentations. Among the presenters were Lester Burgess (University of Sydney), one of the world’s leading authorities on crown rot research, and James Anderson (University of Minnesota), a key speaker who shared his experiences with a lifetime of research on Fusarium head scab.
The workshop was followed by a field day at the University of Sydney Plant Breeding Station in Narrabri, where participants observed crown rot experiments conducted by Richard Trethowan, Phil Davies, and Tokachichu Raju from the University of Sydney, and Meiqin Lu from Australian Grain Technologies. Some then visited Toowoomba in Queensland for a field day at the Lesley Research Centre of the Agricultural Department, where research on crown rot is being conducted by Stephen Neate, Damien Herde, and Cassandra Percy. This was followed by a two-day handson intensive training course for researchers working with crown rot led by Percy, Herde, and Davies.
The results of the meeting have been summarized in an official proceedings document prepared by Richard Brettell (private consultant) and Julie Nicol (CIMMYT). The document and presentations from the meeting are available on the CAIGE (CIMMYT-Australia- ICARDA Germplasm Evaluation) project website.
Many thanks to all participants, donors, and the organizational team. For further information please contact Julie Nicol at firstname.lastname@example.org.