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Top-ranked pest and disease threats identified

Pests and diseases such as grape leaf rust, Pierce’s Disease and vine mealy bug have been listed as the vine industry’s top-ranked threats, according to a report in July/August issue of Australian Viticulture.

The pests and diseases have been identified in a biosecurity plan prepared for vine industries, in the event of exotic diseases striking the nation’s vineyards.

“Pierce’s Disease, for instance, could prove devastating with potential to cause 100% loss of yield and vines where it strikes,” the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Sussan Ley, said.

Ley, whose massive electorate of Farrer borders the big Murray Valley vine production region, from Albury to Wentworth, said the Viticulture Industry Biosecurity Plan would help identify and manage the potential impact of any future disease outbreaks.

“As a nation we have remained relatively free from many of the pests and diseases that have critically affected other agricultural industries overseas,” Ley said.

“Our geographic isolation and the benefit of not having shared land borders has helped shield Australia – but so has our vigilance,” she said.

“But we must recognise that rapid growth in tourism, imports, international mail, and changing transportation methods have increased the pressure on us.”

She said through pre-emptive planning, the viticulture industry and Government could identify pests, analyse risks and put in place procedures to minimise the fallout from incursions. The viticulture plan is the eighth developed by Plan Health Australia.

“This plan upholds product integrity and strengthens industry’s ability to maintain domestic and international trade, as well as negotiate access to new overseas markets.”

Ley said the wine industry might soon also become a party to the Emergency Plant Response Deed, which would open the door to further benefits to the sector.

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WID 2017