19 July 2002

Xi19 outbreak cause still unclear

WHAT is behind the yellowing and early leaf loss of potential milling wheat Xi19 remains a mystery, says breeder Advanta.

"We have found out a lot of things that it isnt, including didymella, but not what it is," admits technical and marketing manager Paul Hickman.

Pathology results have failed to identify a disease cause and the company increasingly suspects stress and nutrient deficiency.

"All the reports weve had say the crop has huge ears full of grain. That could be causing such a big draw on nutrients in the plant that the leaves have run out of nutrient. It is tenuous but it is the only link there is at moment."

farmers weeklys coverage (Arable, July 12) prompted six new reports of problems to the breeder on Monday, again mostly in the south-west, adds Mr Hickman. "Plus one we already knew about." Suggestions of substantial yield loss are premature and the effect could still be nil or even positive, he believes. &#42