Proximal sensors to detect fungal disease in chickpea and faba bean

Ashley Wallace1, James Nuttall1, Eileen Perry2, Jason Brand1, Frank Henry3

1 Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, 110 Natimuk Road, Horsham, Vic, 3400, Australia Email

2Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Cnr Midland Highway & Taylors Street, Epsom, Vic, 3551, Australia

3Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, 915 Mount Napier R oad, Hamilton, Vic, 3300, Australia


Pulse legumes are an important part of cropping rotations in the Victorian grains industry and one of the key management decisions relating to their production is the use of fungicides to control disease. Precision agriculture technology has the potential to assist with these decisions; if it were possible to develop sensor calibrations to detect the presence of disease this could potentially enable more targeted use of fungicide inputs and improve productivity. This paper outlines preliminary findings of testing an active light fluorometer and portable spectroradiometer for their ability to quantify disease in both chickpea (Cicer arietinum) and faba bean (Vicia faba). In general the fluorometer did not indicate strong relationships with ascochyta blight (Ascochyta rabei) in chickpea; however some indices offered an encouraging trend dependent on chickpea type (favoured by desi varieties). Spectral reflectance indices were more successful in quantifying disease in faba bean; however these measurements were undertaken at the leaf rather than canopy level. This study has highlighted some indices for further research, but a number of challenges remain both in terms of the research and practical application of this technology to a field environment.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

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