Vegetable Disease Program

and key outcomes of four vegetable research projects aimed at managing a range of Foliar and Soilborne diseases of vegetable crops
and improving soil health.

These summaries aim to :

  • Inform the vegetable
    industry of new options developed for
    managing vegetable diseases and soil

  • Provide an understanding of
    how these options can be integrated into a strategy
    for sustainable vegetable production.

Principal Authors

Ian Porter

Liz Minchinton

Caroline Donald

Oscar Villalta

VG07008 ‘Improving Soil Health
for Yield and Profit
in Vegetables’

Soil health management
shows economic and
environmental benefits

Download Soil Health Brochure
Download 433kb

Researchers at the Victorian Department of Primary Industries are finding that a range of
different soil health practices have both environmental and economic benefits to growers.

By measuring biological, physical and chemical properties in soil they are identifying which
methods improve soil quality, whilst providing good yields and maximum profit.


  • To date, field trials have demonstrated that profit gains up to $6,000/ha can
    be obtained by the use of more environmentally-friendly fertilisers and organics.

  • A computer-based tool (‘C-Calc’) has been developed to help estimate the
    amount of organic matter that is being returned to the soil from different rotations
    and amendments.

  • A series of information leaflets on use of organic matter and soil health has been

  • Overall the use of organic amendments has beneficial impacts in reducing soilborne
    diseases, but this effect may vary for different organic materials, soil
    types, crops and pathogens.

    VG07008 – Summary – September 2010

    • Measuring & Monitoring Soil Health
    • Economic Benefits of Soil Health
    • Effect of Soil Carbon on Disease
    • ‘C-Calc’ – calculates Organic Matter
      added to soil
    • Soil Health Management Guide

VGO7070 ‘Managing Downy and
Powdery Mildew,
and White Blister’

Efficacy and economic
benefit of control options

Download Soil Health Brochure
Download 315kb


  • Plant resistant varieties.
  • Irrigate crops in the morning to reduce leaf wetness and infection.
  • Manage nutrients as they impact on disease.
  • Use disease forecasting models when cropping susceptible


  • Growing a white blister resistant broccoli variety increases profits by 22%.
  • Irrigating at 4 am rather than 8 pm, increases profits by 5%.
  • The Brassicaspot models for white blister can increase profits by 25%, especially on white blister
    susceptible varieties.

  • The BremCast model for downy mildew on lettuce is as good as, or better than, Farm Best Practice
    or Weekly sprays for contribution to farm profit.

    It can achieve a 6% increase in profit.

VG07070 – Summary – September 2010

    • Resistance to Downy Mildew and Anthracnose in Lettuce
    • Resistance to White Blister
    • Managing White Blister with variety selection and irrigation timing
    • Disease predictive models BrassicaSpot, DownCast & BremCast
    • In-field Spore Test Kit for White Blister
    • Fungicide alternatives
    • Effect of Nitrogen fertilisers on Lettuce Downy Mildew and Anthracnose
    • Economics of control options

VG07125 ‘Managing Soilborne
Diseases in

Rotation with green
manure and biofumigant
shows disease
control & yield benefits

Download Soil Health Brochure
Download 457kb

Researchers at Vic DPI, Qld DEEDI and Peracto are finding that green manures and Brassica
biofumigant crops provide many benefits within vegetable cropping systems.

Information from
trials including the agronomic characteristics of these crops, their biofumigant potential, effects on
key soil health parameters and compatibility with current cropping systems is being used to
develop new strategies for managing soil-borne diseases in vegetable production.


  • Crop rotation strategies can reduce inoculum of soilborne pathogens by
    breaking the disease cycle, biofumigation activity (e.g. mustards) and/or improving soil health.

  • Biofumigant crops with the highest levels of isothiocyanate (ITC) producing
    glucosinolate (GSL) compounds were more effective for pathogen control.

  • In-field effects of Brassica biofumigant crops include excellent weed
    suppression, a reduction of root rots in green beans and lettuce drop and
    an increase in the fresh weight of spring onions.

  • Biofumigant crops should be pulverised before incorporation into moist soil to
    ensure biofumigant compounds are released into the soil.

  • Some green manure crops showed other soil benefits including increased
    organic matter, nitrogen and soil biological activity.

    VG07125 – Summary – September 2010

    • Identifying Biofumigant Crops with Anti-fungal Activity
    • Effect of Green Manure and Biofumigant Crops on Disease, Yield and Soil Health
    • Crop Selection and Growth
    • Cultivation and Incorporation
    • Grafting
    • Disruption of Fungal Resting Structures
    • Fungal Derived Volatiles
    • Plant Derived Compounds

VG07126 ‘Managing Sclerotinia
Diseases in

New management
strategies for lettuce drop
and white mould of beans

Download Soil Health Brochure
Download 291kb

Researchers at DPI Vic, Peracto Pty Ltd, TIAR/UTAS and Qld DEEDI have worked together to
investigate and develop multiple management options for Sclerotinia, using lettuce and green
bean as model crops,

The long term aim of this research is to identify effective control measures and beneficial cultural
practices for managing Sclerotinia which can be integrated into IPM and Best Management Practice
(BMP) programs for sustainable production of vegetables in Australia.


  • For effective and durable Sclerotinia control it is better to integrate a number of methods
    including rotation, cultural practices, disease prediction and fungicides.

  • New management options developed to improve the control of Sclerotinia diseases.
  • New fungicide treatments for lettuce drop and bean white mould and a plant-derived
    soil treatment to reduce disease carry-over.

  • New biofumigant crops identified with high levels of anti-fungal compounds effective
    against Sclerotinia pathogens.

  • Methods developed to predict the risk of white mould before sowing, during the
    growing season and before harvest.

    VG07126 – Summary – September 2010

    • About Sclerotinia
    • Management with Fungicides
    • Managing Disease Carry-over
    • Cultural Control Options
    • Methods to Predict Risk of White Mould


This publication covers research conducted as part of Horticulture Australia’s IPM Vegetable Disease and soil health programs.

The following organisations and people are gratefully acknowledged for their contribution to this research: grower
collaborators and consultants, in Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland and many researchers and support staff.

VG07125 ‘Best-practice IPM strategies for control of major soilborne diseases of vegetable crops’

Caroline Donald, Cassie Scoble, Ian J Porter, Scott Mattner, Ross Mann, Oscar Villalta, David Riches, Denise Wite (DPI,
Victoria), Cherie Gambley (Agri-Science Queensland, DEEDI), Barry Condè and Mark Traynor (NTDR), Len Tesoriero and
Leanne Forsyth (NSW I&I), Alicia Greenhill and Kim Plummer (La Trobe University).

VG07126 ‘Integrated Management of Soilborne Pathogens – Sclerotinia’

Oscar Villalta, Denise Wite, Caroline Donald, Cassie Scoble, David Riches, Ian J Porter (DPI, Victoria).
Frank Hay and Suzie Jones (TIAR/UTAS Tasmania), Hoong Pung and Susan Cross (Peracto Pty Ltd, Tasmania), John Duff
(Agri-Science Queensland DEEDI).

VG07070 ‘Benchmarking predictive models, nutrients and irrigation for management of Downy, Powdery Mildews and White

Elizabeth Minchinton, Joanna Petkowski, Desmond Auer (DPI, Victoria). Dr Victor Galea and Zaiton Sapak, The University of
Queensland. Dr Alison Wakeham and Dr Roy Kennedy of Warwick HRI UK. Lindsay Trapnel. Dr Belinda Rawnsley, Barbara
Hall and Lee Bartlett of SARDI Dr Chrys Akem and Dr Gerry MacManus of AgriScience DEEDI Queensland.

VG07008 ‘Benchmarking soil health for improved crop health, quality and yields in the temperate Australian vegetable

Ian J. Porter, Scott Mattner, Robyn Brett, Belen Guijarro, Jacky Edwards (DPI, Victoria). Nick O’Halloran, Peter Fisher, and
Siggy Engleitner.

Horticulture Australia    AUSVEG     Department of Agriclture, Fisheries and Forestry
Biosciences Research - DPI Victoria

HAL projects are funded by the National Vegetable Research and Development Levy in partnership with AUSVEG and participating state government departments and other organisations.

The Australian Government provides matched funding for all HAL’s R&D activities.

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