Plants pass the pest test

Midwest Times - - NEWS -

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.

Pic­ture: DAFWA

Tomato potato psyl­lid nymph and adults on a leaf, next to nymph cases.

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