Since 1983 the distribution and importance of diseases of cotton in Australia have been monitored by pathologists during annual surveys of commercial crops. Prior to 2002/03 the surveys were confined to NSW production areas. Since then the surveys have also included production areas of Queensland.
During this survey information is collected on cropping history, ground preparation, variety, seeding rate, sowing date, carry-over of crop residues, survey date and crop growth stage as well as the incidence and severity of those diseases present. Between 100 and 150 commercial fields are visited in each survey.
The information collected during these disease surveys gives direction to cotton disease research, justifies applications for research funding and indicates the impact of farming practices on disease incidence and severity. The disease survey data also illustrates the history and success of the cotton breeding effort by;
(i) identifying significant diseases,
(ii) quantifying the impact of those diseases,
(iii) recording the release and rate of adoption of resistant varieties and
(iv) correlating increased use of a resistant variety with declining incidence of a disease.
The original cotton disease survey reports (1983/84 - 1986/87) were included in the annual Plant Disease Survey which was published by Biology Branch of the Department of Agriculture New South Wales at the Biological and Chemical Research Institute at Rydalmere. The Department of Agriculture ceased publishing the Plant Disease survey in 1989 with the 1987/88 and 1988/89 cotton disease surveys written and submitted but never published. The 1989/90 cotton disease survey report was published in a bulletin entitled 'The Cotton Irrigator' which was circulated by the Department of Agriculture. Since 1990 the annual cotton disease surveys have been published by Cotton Seed Distributors Ltd. in their CSD Trial Results.