Exotic pests and diseases are not yet found in Australia. But if they do gain entry, they will pose a significant threat to Victoria's cropping and horticulture sectors.
Preventing pests and diseases from gaining a foothold, and quickly identifying and eradicating localised outbreaks, are critical to protecting these $3.2 billion per annum industries.
While the risk of significant exotic plant pest incursions continues to climb, with increased international travel and movement of plant materials and farm products, a reassuring blanket of biosecurity covers the Victorian grains industry.
What is CropSafe?
CropSafe is an active, self-help 'eyes in the field' surveillance system looking out for new pests and diseases over the Victorian grains belt.
Agriculture Victoria delivers the CropSafe program in collaboration with a number of major agribusiness companies:
- Dodgshun Medlin
- AGRIvision Consultants
- Agritech Rural
- Western AG
- IK Caldwell
- CRT group
- and a network of private consultants.
Together, this cluster incorporates approximately 80 per cent of Victoria's agronomists.
CropSafe has a network of over 200 experienced agronomists continually looking for new pests and diseases. This means Victorian farmers can be far more confident that their grain crops are free of exotic pests.
The CropSafe program has streamlined sample receipt, analysis, reporting and record keeping. Individual agronomists are emailed results and the whole network receives monthly updates on disease occurrence and trends.
The success of CropSafe was acknowledged with a National Biosecurity Award in March 2017.
If you see anything unusual, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 immediately.
It is important to not accidentally introduce exotic pests or diseases into Australia after travelling overseas. The risk of introducing exotic diseases or new mutations of a pathogen into Australia can be minimised by having a biosecurity hygiene plan following overseas travel.
Basic biosecurity hygiene includes washing clothes and cleaning footwear before returning to Australia. If high risk areas have been visited, consider leaving clothing and footwear behind. Remind family members, employees or others travelling to also take these precautions.
Agronomist tool kits
For sampling material and instructions (including plastic specimen bags and plastic vials) or information on joining CropSafe, contact Luise Sigel on (03) 4344 3111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CropSafe: 2018 review
In 2018, 72 samples were submitted to CropSafe for identification of unknown pests and diseases, down from 150 samples submitted the previous year.
Further break down of the season can be found in the CropSafe: 2018 review:
An online delivery of information for advisors and growers about the latest crop disease research and development, focused on current seasonal conditions and emerging issues. Developed in partnership by GRDC, Agriculture Victoria and NSW DPI. You can also follow Field Crop Diseases for the latest information in your social media feed, on Twitter – @AusCropDiseases and Facebook – Field Crop Diseases
The Victorian Crop Disease Manual can be found online at CropPro.com.au for identification and management information for crop diseases. The manual is produced by leading plant pathologists.
Subscribe to GrowNotes™ Alert to receive high-priority alerts for pest, weed, and disease threats – straight to your phone or email!
Developed by Agriculture Victoria, in collaboration with the GRDC, GrowNotes™ Alert is a free subscriber-based system which allows you to personalise the alerts you receive by crop type and location. You can also follow GrowNotes™ Alert on Twitter: @GNAlertSouth, @GNAlertNorth, @GNAlertWest
Not quite sure what that disease is? A range of online tools and smartphone apps are now available to help identify crop diseases. These have been developed with help from Australian plant pathologists and researchers.
See ‘Diagnosing Disease: There’s an app for that’ for further information.
- Information Notes – Grains, Pulses and Cereals
- Plant Health Australia – Grain Resources
- Plant Health Australia – Factsheets
- Plant Health Australia – Is your farm at risk? – Overseas trips
This guide was prepared by Kellyanne Harris.