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10/06/2015

WGGA announce two new pest management projects

Wine Grape Growers Australia (WGGA) yesterday announced two consultancy projects aimed at improving pest and disease management in vineyards.

Agribusiness consultancy Ag Dynamics has been appointed to prepare a strategic plan and business case, with help from the industry, for long-term national biosecurity arrangements in viticulture.

Stuart Perrigrew of Ag Dynamics will undertake the project, bringing with him 25 years’ of experience working with businesses on pest and disease management.

Lawrie Stanford, WGGA executive director, said the organisation was pleased with the level and interest and standard of submissions received.

“Not only does Stuart have great depth of knowledge in pest and disease management and biosecurity across a range of crops,” Stanford said. “He has also worked as a vineyard manager and has direct experience with the issues and realities facing grape growers.” 

The Australian Wine Research Institute will take on the second project, delivering biosecurity operations to fulfil the industry’s obligations to emergency pest response and deal with the national ramifications of endemic pest and disease management.

Stanford said he was confident WGGA had chosen “two excellent organisations to help deliver these extremely important projects for the wine sector.”

“The AWRI’s expertise in matters of viticulture pest and disease, its prominence in extension activities to vineyard operators and its acknowledged capacity in executing rapid responses to weather and disease events all recommended it to the task,” Stanford said. “A key feature of AWRI’s tender was its ready-to-go industry knowledge and established industry networks across Australia. All of these qualities ensure that growers will be engaged in biosecurity management activities that affect them.”

AWRI’s project activities will be delivered primarily by Kerry DeGaris, a qualified viticulturist with 17 years’ experience, with support from the AWRI viticulture team. 

Vic Patrick, WGGA chair, said the value of these initiatives to the wine sector could not be overstated. 

“At a time when profitability for winegrape growers is low, it is critical that industry organisations maintain policies and programs that will protect vineyards from preventable threats.” 

The projects are being funded by voluntary contributions from a range of organisations with viticulture interests.

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