Study reveals substantial biosecurity risk of pests
A NEW study from the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre has discovered the risks of wind-borne pests to the citrus industry.
Plant Biosecurity CRC’s Dr Kyla Finlay said the recent study found that long distance rural dispersal is a substantial and underestimated biosecurity risk and identified six important natural pathways.
Dr Finlay is part of a project that will also build on the recommendations of the study to review existing surveillance techniques and Industry Biosecurity Plans in respect to naturally dispersed pests.
“Long distance natural dispersal of pests is a substantial and underestimated biosecurity risk,” Dr Finlay said.
“To improve our preparedness and early detection of pests arriving via wind dispersal, this project will help to develop more targeted and timely surveillance systems and identify preparedness strategies and options to assist end-users with managing wind-borne priority pest and pathogen threats.
“Through better targeting surveillance systems, end-users will be able to implement or improve the deployment of surveillance within areas and at times predicted to have a high risk of pests arriving by natural dispersal.
“This will result in an improvement in the allocation of limited surveillance resources and will increase our chances of early detection which will have a significant economic impact for both industry and government.”
Dr Finlay will present the researches findings to a Citrus Australia grower’s forum in Yanco, southern New South Wales, today.
Other speakers at the forum are NSWDPI research physiologist, Tahir Kurshid who will highlight promising results from an evaluation project.
The forum comes on top of a new campaign from Citrus Australia aimed at promoting the versatility of seedless navel oranges, as well as blood oranges.
“With higher levels of vitamins C and A than regular navel oranges, the Cara Cara navel may look like a normal navel orange on the outside but hides a rich pink colour on the inside due to the presence of the antioxidant lycopene,” a spokesperson for the organisation said.
“It also has a delicious sweet berry-like flavour.”
“The blood orange is distinctively deep red on the inside with a red blush on the outside due to the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanin. It normally has an exciting tangy raspberry note.
“The industry is even evaluating a super sweet brown orange as part of its quest to innovate the orange category – although this will not be available in stores this year.”
Australian growers are expected to produce about 300,000 tonnes of navel oranges this year.
Citrus Australia CEO Judith Damiani said the 2016 season began slowly due to warmer than average autumn temperatures, but it is now in full swing.
“Total production will be up around 11% from last year,” Ms Damiani said.
“Growing conditions have been favourable in most major growing regions, so there will be a good supply of high quality fruit for both Australian consumers and our overseas customers.”
DANGERS: Wind-borne pests are a substantial risk to the citrus industry.