Western Victorian canola growers have been urged by Agriculture Victoria to look out for green peach aphids in their canola and pulse crops with conditions also favourable for Turnip yellows virus this year.
Research scientist at Agriculture Victoria, Piotr Trebicki issued the warning after observing green peach aphids and Turnip yellows virus (previously known as Beet western yellows virus) in paddocks south of Horsham.
“The volunteer plants and weeds that sprung up following late summer and early autumn rain provided good conditions for aphid populations to increase,” Dr Trebicki said.
“The virus, which is spread by the green peach aphid, can cause significant yield losses in canola and pulse crops, particularly when infection occurs at an early growth stage,” he said.
“If transmitted to canola or other crop species at an early growth stage it can cause total crop losses.”
Dr Trebicki said typical symptoms of Turnip yellows virus included stunted plant growth and leaves with a yellow or purple discolouration.
“A recent virus survey conducted by Agriculture Victoria showed an increase in Turnip yellows virus, particularly in paddocks where summer weeds, self-sown canola and spring sown canola were growing,” he said.
He said the risk of infection increased when crops were sown in, or adjacent to, paddocks that hosted large aphid populations or where the virus was already present.