ID help with frost events

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Ben Biddulph installing at canola trials this month.
Camera IconBen Biddulph installing at canola trials this month. Credit: Supplied

A new Frost ID guide for canola and pulses is set to help farmers identify the impact of frost damage in their crops.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development guide uses high-res images and descriptions of damage symptoms to indicate the extent of the harm and how likely it is that the frosted plant can recover.

It also advises farmers on when to inspect crops, the different stages of plant development and the biotic and abiotic stresses that may cause similar symptoms.

Research officer Ben Biddulph said early identification could help growers salvage their crops.

“The new guide for canola and pulses provides a useful reference to monitor and correctly identify whether a crop has been affected by frost or something else,” he said.

“The close-up photos and descriptions of frost symptoms for canola, lupins, field peas, chickpeas, faba beans and lentils provide good references for growers to compare and assess crop damage and severity.

“This tool is particularly useful to landholders whose properties span a vast area to identify whether or not to travel the distance to inspect crops for frost damage.”

The guide comes out at an opportune time for canola and pulse crop growers, with the current stage of early flowering to pod growth, one of the most susceptible times for frost damage.

Research officer Mark Seymour advised growers to carefully inspect crops they presumed had frost damage.

“Canola and pulses have an extended period of flowering and podding, which means crops can be exposed to damage for longer, however this characteristic also provides crops with an opportunity to recover from frost,” he said.

“The developing seed of these crops is also susceptible to frost, although not all seed in a pod nor all pods or plants may be frosted. It’s important for growers to monitor crops for a week or so after a frost event and to open up a lots of pods to determine the extent of damage and assess whether the crop is recovering.”

The guide can be down-loaded for free from the department’s website.

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