Plants pass the pest test
Carnarvon’s newest batch of vegetable seedlings have been given the all-clear as the Department of Agriculture and Food WA manages the appearance of the exotic tomato potato psyllid pest in the Perth area.
The delivery of capsicum, chilli, eggplant and tomato seedlings arrived in town this month, just in time for planting.
DAFWA chief plant biosecurity officer John van Schagen said Carnarvon was a main supplier of vegetables to the Perth market, particularly during winter.
With several of the pests spotted in the Perth metropolitan area since February, DAFWA has established a quarantine area notice, which restricts the movement of commercially grown vegetables and nursery stock and has been extended from the Perth metropolitan region to Chittering, Gingin and Murray to limit the psyllid’s spread.
This means affected crops need to be monitored carefully and sprayed with protective chemicals before they can leave Perth.
Carnarvon Growers Association president Bruce Munro said the timing of the delivery of seedlings from the Perth quarantine area was critical to the 2017 season.
“Non-delivery of seedlings would have possibly impacted on the viability and future of a large portion of growers,” he said.
“In both 2014 and 2015 growing seasons, the solanaceous crops represented more than $40 million per annum, or just over 50 per cent of the entire industry turnover for those years.
“The confirmation of delivery of seedlings to Carnarvon, with appropriate pre-treatment, is very welcome news.”
Carnarvon growers will continue pest monitoring as their crops develop.
More than 300 properties have been inspected, and 1500 surveillance traps put in place in response to the psyllid threat.
Tomato potato psyllid nymph and adults on a leaf, next to nymph cases.