|Author: ||S.C. Gouk|
|Keywords: ||fire blight, Erwinia amylovora, apple, pear, disease prediction|
The state of Victoria is the largest apple and pear producing region in Australia.
Pome fruit production and associated industries are major drivers in its regional economy.
A devastating disease such as fire blight would pose serious threats to these industries.
Fire blight has not been detected in an Australian orchard or nursery.
With over 80% of the pear production concentrated in the Goulburn Valley, northern Victoria, the threat of fire blight incursion is serious, since the climatic conditions in this region are considered favourable for development of fire blight.
An assessment of fire blight infection risk was conducted utilising the HortPlus MetWatch software, against the predictive criteria of two fire blight predictive models, MARYBLYTTM and Cougarblight.
Hourly weather data from two weather stations, including temperatures, rainfall, leaf wetness and humidity conditions from the 2006–07 season were used to derive predictions with these models.
Outputs from both models demonstrated the potential risk for fire blight infection in the Goulburn Valley in the assumed presence of Erwinia amylovora inoculum.
Both models predicted infection risk for blossom blight in mid-September and early October 2006, coinciding with bloom periods for apples and pears.
Model outputs on fire blight infection periods under low, moderate and high inoculum potentials are presented.
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