Levy projects improving industry protection from pests and disease

Biosecurity is one of the key areas of levy R&D investment for the nursery industry because protecting industry assets from exotic, emerging and endemic pests and diseases is of utmost importance.

Currently, there are several nursery biosecurity projects underway. In this blog, we look at recent project updates, resources and upcoming events relevant to growers and staff.

National Nursery Industry Biosecurity Program (NY15004)

Nursery & Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) leads the ‘National Nursery Industry Biosecurity Program’, which aims to ensure production nurseries have effective market access and are aware of, and prepared for, the incursion of exotic plant pests.

A key focus of the project is the on-farm biosecurity program, BioSecure HACCP. Just recently, the program received the tick of approval from the Queensland Department of Agriculture as an approved third party biosecurity scheme.

As part of the announcement, NGIA also became the first third party biosecurity scheme operator approved under the QLD Biosecurity Act 2014 – the first to receive this level of recognition in Australia. NGIA is now in the process of seeking the same level of approval in New South Wales.

The industry works collaboratively with other commodities to encourage uptake of its high health and best practice programs. Recent collaborations include the macadamia nut industry with NIASA, as well as integrating the avocado and banana programs into NIASA BMP and BioSecure HACCP.

In November, the NGIA biosecurity team will participate in a hypothetical incursion exercise for the exotic and dreaded plant pest, Xylella Fastidiosa, in Brisbane. Facilitated by Plant Health Australia and QDAF, it will bring together industry and government to prepare for an effective emergency response.

Building the resilience and on-farm biosecurity capacity of the Australian production nursery industry (NY15002)

The Queensland Department of Agriculture, in partnership with NGIA, leads the ‘Building the resilience and on-farm biosecurity capacity of the Australian production nursery industry’ project.

This program oversees the development of industry’s biosecurity resources, supports the online Pest Identification Tool and provides diagnostic identification services for production nurseries.

It also manages pest and disease workshops and webinars, with the next round to take place in WA and VIC during November 2018. These particular workshops will focus on steps nursery managers can take to diagnose unknown or unusual plant health problems in their production nursery.

As part of the broader biosecurity program, growers can send in problematic plant samples for expert analysis, as well as access a number of useful resources including pest management plans, fact sheets and contingency plans (see www.nurseryproductionfms.com.au).

Improving pest management for the nursery industry (17009)

Managed by NGIA, the newly contracted program ‘Improving pest management for the nursery industry’ aims to improve and inform pest management and equip production nurseries with the latest advice on crop protection.

Over the next few years, it will focus on key areas of plant protection including chemical access, structured crop monitoring and IPM, as well as undertake trials and develop an economic cost-benefit analysis about pest management for growers.

Stay tuned for more biosecurity updates and events at www.yourlevyatwork.com.au.