Grape phylloxera is the number one threat to grapevines in Australia.
Phylloxera (fil-ox-er-a) is a very small, yellow insect that feeds on the roots, and sometimes the leaves, of grapevines. It can also move to the soil surface and up into the canopy and the fruit.
Feeding by phylloxera can damage a susceptible grapevine's root system to such an extent that the plant may die.
If phylloxera is detected in a vineyard, a quarantine zone is established to restrict the spread of the pest. This has implications for grape growers selling their grapes and limits the movement of other grape material and equipment used in their vineyards.
These restrictions impose extra costs on the grower in addition to the loss of production caused by the pest. So it is crucial to the industry that the impacts of phylloxera are minimised.
This is best achieved by removing unviable, infested vineyards, replanting on rootstocks resistant to phylloxera, or preventing the spread of the pest.
Your notification responsibilities
Phylloxera is declared as a notifiable pest under the Plant Biosecurity Act 2010.
You must report suspected detections of phylloxera to Agriculture Victoria within 7 days by:
- emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or
- phoning the Agriculture Victoria Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
The requirement for mandatory reporting includes a person who:
- owns or occupies the land
- owns or possesses the material (e.g. vine rootlings);
- deals with the land or material as a consultant or contractor engaged by the owner/occupier or manager
Preventing the spread
Victoria uses three types of management zones to protect the grape industries from phylloxera:
- Phylloxera Exclusion Zone (PEZ) are areas which are declared to be free of the pest. PEZs are used to improve biosecurity and market access for the industry and must be protected from the introduction of phylloxera.
- Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) are areas in which phylloxera has been detected. They are established to prevent the spread of the pest from the area. A number of PIZs exist in Victoria and New South Wales.
- Phylloxera Risk Zone (PRZ) have an undetermined phylloxera status because they have not yet been surveyed.
Read more about phylloxera zones and viticulture biosecurity.
Don't put our grape industries at risk
What you can do
Victoria needs comprehensive, flexible and sensitive systems in place to accurately and efficiently monitor disease and pest situations across the state.
The whole community can help prevent the spread of phylloxera by being aware of phylloxera management zones and what they mean.
- When travelling by road, observe highway signage (photo right) and do not move any phylloxera host materials into the Phylloxera Exclusion Zone (PEZ) without appropriate certification.
- When visiting vineyards in a Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) observe signage regarding movement around the vineyard (photo below) and do not remove any phylloxera host materials from the property.
- Report any unauthorised removal of host materials, either from PIZs or into PEZs to our Customer Service Centre on 136 186.
Penalties can apply if host materials are moved into a PEZ or out of a PIZ without certification.
Early detection and a rapid, planned response are the keys to effective biosecurity emergency management.
Contact the Customer Service Centre on 136 186 if you are unsure of what you need to do.
Host material of phylloxera include:
- Grapevine foliage
- Grapevine cuttings and rootlings
- Whole fresh grapes
- Grape marc and unfiltered juice
- Unfermented grape must
- Packages and equipment used in the cultivation and harvesting of grapes, including bins, buckets, vine guards, and vineyard posts (but not limited to these)
- Vehicles, machinery, clothing and footwear used in a vineyard
- Soil from vineyards
These materials may only be moved under certain circumstances with Agriculture Victoria approval.
For more information, call the Customer Service Centre on 136 186.