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Towards measures of the eradicability of rain-splashed crop diseases

Publication Type  Conference Paper
Year of Publication  2012
Authors  Bennett, J.; Diggle, A.; Evans, F.; Renton, M.
Conference Name  19th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation

Controlling rain-splashed crop diseases is an extremely difficult task. Their spread is a complicated process and large-scale field surveys to determine the extent of an incursion over a large area are often economically intractable. A failed attempt at control or eradication of a pathogen can be very costly. In 1996 there was a major incursion of lupin anthracnose in Western Australia, which crippled the albus lupin industry. At the time of the outbreak a wide-spread survey was undertaken to estimate the extent of the incursion. A containment protocol involving broad-scale crop destruction was put into place with the view of eradicating the disease. This eradication attempt subsequently failed due to wild lupins acting as a reservoir for the disease from road verges and non-arable land outside the cropping area. There was also evidence of long distance dispersal vectors such as native budworm. Had all the relevant information related to spread and spatial habitat suitability been collected and taken into account, the decision to destroy the crops may not have been made and significant economic losses to growers may have been avoided. Estimates of the current extent of an incursion based solely on incomplete empirical data are likely to be inaccurate, as are predictions of the future trajectory of an incursion that do not take into account all available information. Therefore any control or eradication attempt based on these estimates and predictions may be ineffective.

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Towards measures of the eradicability of rain-splashed crop diseases

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