Re­port pests

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

Grain grow­ers are be­ing re­minded to re­port any sus­pect plant pests and symp­toms as early as pos­si­ble to stop the spread of dis­eases next crop­ping sea­son.

Re­port­ing of odd pest and plant symp­toms can be done quickly and eas­ily through Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria’s crop sur­veil­lance pro­gram CropSafe.

CropSafe is a field crop pest and dis­ease sur­veil­lance sys­tem linked to more than 200 ma­jor agribusi­ness com­pa­nies and pri­vate agron­o­mist net­works.

In 2016, 226 sam­ples were sub­mit­ted to CropSafe for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of un­known pests and dis­eases, 141 more than the year be­fore, due to sea­sonal con­di­tions and the Rus­sian wheat aphid (RWA) in­cur­sion.

The first re­port of RWA came from a CropSafe agron­o­mist — all of whom re­ceive spe­cial­ist sur­veil­lance train­ing, as well as di­ag­nos­tic sup­port for un­usual or dif­fi­cult cases.

Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria’s act­ing chief plant health of­fi­cer Dr Rosa Crnov said CropSafe had be­come a crit­i­cal tool in iden­ti­fy­ing po­ten­tial ex­otic pests and dis­ease threats to the state’s grains in­dus­try.

The chief plant health of­fi­cer re­lies on CropSafe sur­veil­lance data for mar­ke­tac­cess-re­lated area-of-free­dom (AoF) claims.

A re­cent eval­u­a­tion of the pro­gram re­vealed it would re­quire 81 full-time staff equiv­a­lents to pro­vide the same tar­geted sur­veil­lance cov­er­age.

‘‘The more grow­ers we have us­ing our CropSafe tools, the bet­ter we can pro­tect our grains in­dus­try,’’ Agri­cul­ture Vic­to­ria pro­gram man­ager Kellyanne Har­ris said.

‘‘The big­ger the CropSafe net­work be­comes, the bet­ter able it is to de­tect ex­otic pests and dis­eases in field crops — and early de­tec­tion is key,’’ Ms Har­ris said.

The pro­gram earned a top biose­cu­rity award in March for its role in the RWA re­sponse in Vic­to­ria. ■ For more in­for­ma­tion about CropSafe visit: http://go.vic.gov.au/PQRwiv

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