Be alert for Russian wheat aphid
3 June 2016
Grain growers are being urged to be vigilant following the detection of an exotic wheat pest in South Australia as it could potentially make its way to Victoria.
Russian wheat aphid has been found in cereal crops in the mid-north area of South Australia, the first time this pest has been recorded in Australia.
Victoria's Chief Plant Health Officer, Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, is urging grain growers and agronomists to be watchful and follow good on-farm biosecurity protocols.
"As far as we are aware, Russian wheat aphid is not in Victoria and early detection is critical," Dr Vivian-Smith said.
"Landholders and agronomists are asked to keep a watchful eye on emerging cereal crops and report any signs of damage or strange pest activity."
"Damage symptoms include a noticeable loss of green colouration across the crop, and on closer inspection, stunted plant growth and loss of vigour."
"If you observe anything unusual, please phone the Exotic Pest Plant Hotline on 1800 084 881 – an early detection could help quick containment, reducing the impact on the grains industry."
Russian wheat aphid is approximately 2 mm long, pale yellowish green with a fine waxy coating, it attacks all cereal crops including wheat, barley, oats and rice.
"This aphid is spread easily by the wind, on live plant material, machinery and equipment – this is why anyone visiting grain growing properties and entering paddocks should be alert."
"It is very important that if you are moving from farm to farm or between different paddocks you are aware that you could potentially spread the aphid."
"Don't take any risks with hygiene and make sure you follow strict biosecurity practices."
Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia) is found in all major cereal production regions around the world and attacks all major cereal crops including wheat, barley, oats and sorghum.
The aphid injects toxins into the plant during feeding, retarding growth and killing the plant. Affected plants will show whitish, yellow and red leaf markings and rolling leaves.
Russian wheat aphids are often found at the base of the leaf blade when numbers are low.
For more information regarding Russian wheat aphid, what to look out for and on-farm hygiene practices, visit www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/russianaphid.
Categorised under: Agriculture,Biosecurity