This work was done to demonstrate the opportunities provided by application of meta-analysis in plant pathology. It was a case study used to determine the effectiveness of foliar fungicides in minimising yield loss from a complex of yellow spot (Pyrenophora tritici-repentis) and septoria nodorum blotch (Stagonospora nodorum, teleomorph: Phaeosphaeria nodorum) (YS-SNB disease complex) on wheat in the northern grain-belt of Western Australia. Forty-seven datasets of experimental results from 14 growing seasons, using 18 varieties sprayed one to three times, predominantly with tebuconazole or propiconazole fungicides, were analysed. Across the datasets, the wheat yield gain from fungicide application was 297 kg ha-1 with a 95 % confidence interval of 11.6 kg ha-1. Significant yield gains resulted from single or multiple applications of fungicides. Both propiconazole and tebuconazole, increased yield of wheat affected by the YS-SNB disease complex, with yield gain from propiconazole being greater than that from tebuconazole. Yield response varied significantly among crop growing seasons. Meta-analysis was able to aggregate a large number of experimental results and answer important questions related to the variables that influenced those results; in this case the effectiveness of fungicides in minimising yield loss from the YS-SNB disease complex on wheat. It also identified areas where further research needs to be done. It is concluded that meta-analysis has the potential to contribute to similar analyses in other crop disease systems. © 2013 The Author(s).