Improving Soil Health to Suppress Soilborne Diseases of Ginger

The State of Queensland acting through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

  • Project code: PRJ-008532

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Wednesday, January 2, 2013

  • Project completion date: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

  • National Priority: GIN-High quality product and sustainable production systems


Pythium Soft Rot, Fusarium Yellows, Erwinia Soft Rot and root-knot nematode are all soilborne diseases of ginger and are responsible for serious losses in the crop. Pythium myriotylum, in particular, is a disease first identified by ginger growers in the 2007/08 growing season (Stirling et al. 2009). These diseases not only are a threat to individual growers but also to processors that add value to the crop.

Collectively the ginger industry is valued at $2m per annum at the farm gate with a further $76m per annum added as first-order processing. Last season, however, approximately $2m was lost at the farm gate due to Pythium Soft Rot alone.

Previous RIRDC funded research (PRJ-005612; PRJ-008343) into the control of Pythium Soft Rot in ginger has indicated that some of the critical measures to limit losses are through the use of organic amendments and cultural practices that are thought to improve soil health. In other words, practices that stimulate the buildup of beneficial microorganisms that can suppress ginger pathogens, as well as improve soil structure and fertility, will be assessed using a range of soil health indicators.

The Ginger Industry R&D Advisory Committee has voted to extend funding support for research into the control of diseases of ginger. This project attempts to build on research, both past and present, but with an emphasis on understanding how soil health can be improved to lead to more productive and sustainable ginger farming systems. By controlling soil-borne pathogens of ginger, losses will be reduced and production made more sustainable.



Research Organisation

The State of Queensland acting through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Objective Summary

• To identify practices that improve soil health in a ginger farming system.
• To reduce losses and increase production of ginger following successful control of Pythium Soft Rot and other soilborne diseases.