Wheat’s ability to defend itself against yellow rust will be the main topic at this year’s UK Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey (UKCPVS) stakeholder event.

At the event, papers will show how advances in our understanding of yellow rust and crop genetics are providing hope that long-lasting sources of resistance could be available within commercial crops in as little as 10 years.

The latest pathogen virulence data for wheat yellow rust, as well as wheat brown rust and cereal mildews, will be presented at the meeting. Progress in research looking to introduce durable yellow rust resistance in wheat crops will also be outlined to stakeholders.

Targeted at breeders, crop scientists and technical agronomists, the 2018 event takes place at NIAB’s Park Farm site, in Cambridgeshire, on March 7.

It comes at a time when there have been significant changes to UK wheat yellow rust populations and their resistance to treatments, identified by AHDB-funded surveillance in 2016. This also led to a major revision of the AHDB Recommended List (RL) disease ratings.

Also it seems to have stabilised in 2017, monitoring of pathogen populations, in addition to investment in plant breeding programmes, is essential to make sure commercial varieties can stand up to evolving pathogen pressures, said Dr Sarah Holdgate, the UKCPVS project manager based at NIAB

She added: “The yellow rust population was relatively stable in 2017 and this was reflected in the latest edition of the RL, as there were no significant shifts in disease ratings.

“The yellow rust population has become extremely diverse in the UK, however, so it is important to keep up both monitoring and plant breeding efforts to ensure wheat is equipped with the genetic defences to counter this diversity.”