Pests & Diseases



Onions & Leeks

Investigating onion stunt

Sept 2005 May 2011 Contact: Barbara Hall

Funded by the Vegetable levy and the Commonwealth Government through HAL.

Severe stunting of onions that affected over 10% of crops in the mid Murray area of South Australia was reported in 2004 (Onion news Dec 2004). Although the problem was thought to be caused by the soil borne fungus Rhizoctonia, no critical studies have been done to confirm this or to determine if other pathogens are involved. According to growers this problem has steadily increased over the past 5 years and is now regarded as one of their biggest problems.  A number of organisms including nematodes and fungi such as Pythium, Fusarium and Pyrenochaeta cause stunting of onions.  This problem may be a complex of these organisms, but other factors such as environment may be associated with this problem.

The aim of this project is to undertake studies to identify the cause and extent of the problem in the onion industry.

Managing Diseases of Leeks

July 2000 Dec 2004   Contact: Catherine Hitch

Funded by the Vegetable levy and the Commonwealth Government through HAL.

VG00013 Project summary.

Leeks have become an important component of vegetable production in Australia with the area of production increasing in most states. They have become more common in the domestic diet and export markets for the product have been established.

However little is known about the diseases of this crop in Australia and elsewhere, although the plant is related to onions. Diseases have been reported on commercial crops in Australia and spread of these problems could jeopardise further development of the industry and affect the maintenance of existing domestic and export markets.

This project investigated the disease of leeks occurring in Australia, and formulated management strategies for the most economically damaging of those, Fusarium foot rot.

The full report on this project can be obtained by contacting HAL (VG00013) at

The following articles are in PDF format, and require Adobe Acrobat Reader.


Produced during the project, these newsletters provided updates on the latest findings of the research into managing diseases of leeks.