Australia to lead world in horticultural pest control systems
AUSTRALIA is on track to adopt some of the most sophisticated plant pest surveillance technologies in the world after Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) secured a Federal Government grant and co-investor funding to deliver a $12m plant biosecurity push.
The $7.4m Rural R&D for Profit grant will complement more than $14M in investment across the seven plant Research and Development Corporations (RDCs) and partners such as the CSIRO, universities and state government agencies.
Vegetable industry body AUSVEG and Plant Health Australia are also key collaborators.
Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd said the new project, which would begin in July, would further safeguard Australian agriculture from pathogen and pest incursions.
“The early detection and identification of any new pathogen or pest is critical, and a pre-emptive approach is vital to control,” he said.
“Pests and diseases can devastate growers, affect the supply of timber, food and fibre products and hinder trade opportunities.”
The five-year project will see the construction and establishment of eight state-of-the-art mobile pest monitoring hubs, including a suite of smart surveillance traps that capture airborne fungal spores and insects and reference them against GPS, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction data.
That data will then be fed real-time into cloud-based system AUSPestCheck.
It will then be distributed to producers, governments and industry groups in the form of immediate alerts, pest forecasts and general reports to support decision making.