Spot Form of Net Blotch management in the Mallee

By Mark McLean (Agriculture Victoria), James Murray and Claire Browne (BCG)

Key messages:

  • 2015 manual FCSpot form of net blotch (SFNB) was at low levels during 2015 due to dry seasonal conditions and was unlikely to have caused grain yield or quality loss in the Mallee.
  • SFNB severity peaked at 9% leaf area affected at flag leaf emergence in very susceptible rated varieties at the Quambatook site.
  • Cultivation of moderately susceptible or better rated varieties or the application of fungicide significantly reduced SFNB severity, but did not improve economics because of low yield potential.

Spot form of net blotch (SFNB) is a common foliar disease of barley in south-eastern Australia. It is favoured by the intensive cultivation of susceptible varieties in close rotation and the use of stubble retention practices.

Spot form of net blotch has been shown to cause grain yield and quality loss where climatic conditions are favourable and yield potential is greater than 2.5t/ha. Experiments conducted in the Wimmera region of Victoria during 2005-11 demonstrated yield losses were typically about six per cent, while grain quality losses included up to a five per cent increase in screenings, 13 per cent reduction in retention and six per cent reduction in grain weight (McLean and McColl, 2015).

The Department of Economic Development Jobs Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) and BCG are in the second season of collaborative experiments investigating the grain yield and quality loss associated with SFNB in the Mallee region of Victoria in the GRDC funded project DAV00129.

During 2015, experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of growing varieties with different susceptibility ratings and the efficacy of the new seed treatment fungicide, Systiva® and foliar fungicide Prosaro® applied at different timings with the aim of suppressing SFNB and improving grain yield and quality.

The treatments selected were based on the most effective identified in previous
research conducted in the Wimmera during 2005-11 (McLean et al. 2015).


Aim: To compare SFNB severity, grain yield and quality of barley varieties with different susceptibility ratings and to identify effective fungicide strategies for managing SFNB.

Two replicated experiments were conducted at Quambatook. The site had residual barley stubble infected with SFNB which provided a source of inoculum.

The first experiment included eight barley varieties with different resistance/susceptibility ratings (Table 1).

Two treatments were tested for each variety.

Treatment 1: Fungicide Systiva® @ 150ml/100kg seed applied to seed and Prosaro®
@ 150ml/ha as foliar application at GS32 and GS45 to minimise disease.

Treatment 2: Disease. No fungicide applied.

The second experiment consisted of the very susceptible variety, SY Rattler treated with six different fungicide treatments (listed in Table 2.)

Wheat buffer rows were sown between each barley row in both experiments.

Table 1. Barley varieties and their SFNB rating.

SFNB table 1

Table 2. Fungicide treatment, product, timing and rate applied to SY Rattler for SFNB suppression at Quambatook during 2015.

SFNB table 2

Spot form of net blotch severity was determined by visually estimating percentage leaf area effected on three occasions: 7 August (GS32), 31 August (GS37) and 30 September (GS89).

Grain yield was determined by measuring grain weight from each plot at harvest. Grain quality measurements of protein, retention, screenings and test weight were measured post-harvest.


Spot form of net blotch severity was low for most of the 2015 growing season due to dry seasonal conditions. SFNB severity peaked at nine per cent leaf area infection in VS rated varieties at flag leaf emergence (GS37), then reduced to about one per cent at ripening (Table 3).

SFNB severity varied between the varieties tested and increased according to higher susceptibility rating.

Spot form of net blotch did not cause significant grain yield or quality loss at the Quambatook site during 2015. This was expected, given that SFNB severity was less than 10 per cent throughout the growing season and that yield potential was low. Grain protein and screenings were high and retention low due to a lack of rainfall during the spring months.

All six fungicide treatments tested were effective in suppressing SFNB, but there was no significant difference between treatments due to low disease pressure and no significant effect on grain yield or quality, indicating that fungicides were of no economic benefit.
Table 3. Spot form of net blotch severity, grain yield and grain quality of eight barley varieties at Quambatook during 2015. Response to fungicide application shown in brackets.
SFNB table 3a SFNB severity was less than 1% in fungicide treatment plots.
b No statistically significant difference between disease and fungicide treatments for all varieties.
Table 4. Spot form of net blotch severity, grain yield and grain quality of very susceptible barley
variety SY Rattler in response to six fungicide treatments at Quambatook during 2015.SFNB table 4^Nil = SFNB infected stubble applied and no fungicide; No disease = Systiva applied to seed and Prosaro applied at GS32 and GS45.


McLean M., McColl S., 2014, 2014 BCG Season Research Results, ‘Spot form of net blotch yield loss and management in the Mallee’, pp. 109-112.

McLean M.S., Weppler R., Howlett B.J., Hollaway G.J., 2015, Australasian Plant Pathology (online), ‘Spot form of net blotch suppression and yield of barley in response to fungicide application in the Wimmera region of Victoria, Australia’.


The authors thank Grains Research and Development Corporation (DAV00129) and Department of Economic Development Jobs Transport and Resources for funding and support.GRDCLogoStacked_TM_CMYK

The stubble project – maintaining profitable farming systems in Victoria and Tasmania with retained stubble (project number BWD00024) is funded by the GRDC.

A printer-friendly version of this trial report can be accessed here.

About BCG

Birchip Cropping Group Inc. (BCG) is a not-for-profit agricultural research and extension organisation led by farmers in the Victorian Wimmera and Mallee.
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1 Response to Spot Form of Net Blotch management in the Mallee

  1. Pingback: 2015 field trials | The stubble project: Victoria and Tasmania

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