Studies were undertaken on the effects of temperature (14/10 °C and 22/17 °C day/night) and plant age (15, 23, 31 and 40 day-old-plants) on the severity of downy mildew (Hyaloperonospora parasitica) on oilseed Brassica cultivars (temperature: Brassica juncea Montara, B. napus Atomic, ATR-Hyden, Hyola 432, Hyola 450 TT, Thunder TT; plant age: B. juncea Dune, B. napus Surpass 402 and Hyola 450 TT). For temperature studies, there were significant (P < 0.001) effects of temperature, cultivar, and cultivar x temperature interaction. On cotyledons of susceptible cultivars (B. napus Hyola 450 TT and Thunder TT), plants were symptomatic at 22/17 °C by 48 h post inoculation (hpi) and with abundant sporulation evident by 72 hpi, and with all cotyledons of B. napus Thunder TT collapsed by 7 days post inoculation (dpi). However, at 14/10 °C, there were no symptoms on the same cultivars until 5 dpi, and sporulation only observed at 7 dpi. Percent disease index values (DI%) at 22/17 °C of B. juncea Montara and B. napus ATR-Hyden, Hyola 432, Atomic, Hyola 450 TT and Thunder TT were 4.5, 49.0, 51.4, 65.8, 86.3 and 96.0, respectively, with all except B. juncea Montara having significantly lower (P < 0.001) disease at 14/10 °C with DI% values of 2.8, 30.4, 27.9, 31.1, 44.4 and 76.4, respectively. For plant age studies, there were significant (P < 0.001) effects of plant age, cultivar, and cultivar x plant age interaction. DI% was significantly higher at 15 compared to 40 day-old-plants (dop) across all cultivars. B. juncea Dune showed greatest resistance, particularly on 40 dop, with DI% values of 25.8, 24.6, 22.9 and 7.5, for 15, 23, 31 and 40 dop, respectively. B. napus Surpass 402 showed high susceptibility on cotyledons of 15 dop but moderate resistance on leaves of other ages, with DI% values of 59.0, 31.2, 27.1 and 26.2 for 15, 23, 31 and 40 dop, respectively. B. napus Hyola 450 TT showed very high susceptibility at the cotyledon stage on 15 dop, but some resistance on 23 dop and more so on 31 and 40 dop, with DI% values of 84.0, 41.2, 35.4 and 32.9 for 15, 23, 31 and 40 dop, respectively. Together, these findings explain for the first time why development of downy mildew epidemics on susceptible cultivars occurs early in the growing season when warmer seasonal temperatures in autumn coincide with presence of seedlings; in contrast to later in the growing season on less susceptible older plants coinciding with cooler and less favourable winter temperatures. Increasing maximum and minimum temperatures associated with climate change have likely fostered the increased severity of downy mildew over the past 15 years.