Potato cyst nematode
About potato cyst nematode (PCN)
Potato cyst nematode (PCN) is a microscopic, worm-like organism which feeds on the roots of potatoes, tomatoes and other plants of the Solanaceae family. It lives in the soil and can easily be spread by the movement of host plants or the soil attached to plants, bulbs, advanced trees and agricultural equipment.
PCN can reduce crop yields, increase production costs and result in trade restrictions for potatoes.
PCN is not a human health issue.
PCN management program
The government's role in PCN management is to provide regulation on pathways identified as 'high risk' for the spread and establishment of PCN. The government also works with all sectors of the Victorian potato industry to:
- establish controls and advise on practices to limit the spread of PCN:
- to unaffected districts and
- from affected districts and
- from properties known to harbour the pest.
- improve the knowledge of PCN distribution in risk areas
- develop and maintain effective legislation
- develop and maintain national, state and regional market access programs
- improve industry awareness of PCN issues.
The government also negotiates with other states regarding regulations for interstate movement of potatoes exported from or imported into Victoria.
Occupiers of land known to be infested or linked to a PCN infestation have been contacted regarding controls regulating the movement of PCN host produce from their properties.
PCN management zones in Victoria
Potato/Plant Protection Districts (PPDs)
PPDs are declared under the Plant Biosecurity Act 2010 for the purpose of preventing the entry of PCN into the area.
If an area is declared a PPD, the following PCN hosts are prohibited from entering that area:
- potatoes for planting
- agricultural equipment used in potato production
- used potato bins or bags (subject to a number of conditions).
Potatoes for home consumption do not require certification for entry into a PPD.
PPDs have been established in Victoria at the request of potato growers, to protect their industry, customers and suppliers from the threat of PCN. The current PPDs in Victoria are:
|Warragul PPD (2008)||Colac-Otway PPD (2006)||Portland PPD (2005)|
PPDs remain in force if industry members continue to provide evidence that the regulations will continue to benefit the industry.
Home gardeners within PPDs can help to guard against PCN by:
- using only certified seed potatoes in their home garden
- only purchasing garden plants grown in soilless potting media.
The Toolangi Plant Protection District also includes provisions for preventing the entry of PCN into that area - see map.
Interstate movement restrictions
Interstate trade regulations exist for the movement of PCN host produce from land with a PCN detection and land known to be linked to a PCN detection.
Growers operating on land linked to a PCN detection are able to market their crops to most markets under accreditation arrangements.
The requirements associated with sending PCN host material to Western Australia remain unchanged.
For information about the conditions of movement of plant materials, soil, machinery and other equipment into or out of PCN management zones, please contact your nearest officer by phone 136 186 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
On-farm hygiene for PCN management
To reduce the risk of spreading PCN, on-farm hygiene practices need to be followed with respect to vehicles, people and used machinery and equipment.
If you suspect you may have PCN on your property, please contact DEDJTR on 136 186 or email email@example.com