Keep an eye on crops for pests

Keep an eye on crops for pests and biosecurity incursions

Cropping
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Farmers are urged to ramp up their monitoring for crop pests over the latter part of the growing season.

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Jim Moran, grains biosecurity officer for Victoria, is warning farmers to remain vigilant to the threat of new pests and diseases during the latter part of the growing season.

Jim Moran, grains biosecurity officer for Victoria, is warning farmers to remain vigilant to the threat of new pests and diseases during the latter part of the growing season.

A BIOSECURITY officer is urging grain growers to keep an eye out for exotic pests and diseases in the late spring period.

Grains biosecurity officer for Victoria Jim Moran said it was important to identify any potential incursions before they had the chance to become endemic.

The grains industry last had a serious incursion with the introduction of Russian wheat aphid in 2016.

Mr Moran said it highlighted the need to be aware of potential threats.

"As a united and active grains industry, we need to be vigilant to ensure new pests and diseases do not enter our paddocks and become endemic in Australia," Mr Moran said.

There is a lengthy list of exotic pests we don't at present have but that could be potentially come in via trade

"Apart from the many known pests and diseases currently rearing their ugly head in some districts, it is estimated that there are more than 300 exotic grain pests and diseases in countries we trade with and visit,"

He said farmers should be on the lookout for anything that is unusual or out of place and is causing damage to the crop.

"For example, if stripe rust or stem rust develops in resistant varieties, it could be a new or an exotic variant of the disease."

"It could be an insect not seen before nor known to have an appetite for varieties you are growing.

"The sooner these are found, the more likely it is that they can be eradicated."

He said farmers needed to have a thorough look.

"When checking a crop, make sure you get down and look right into the bottom of the canopy. This is where most diseases begin."

"If you are just looking at the visible leaves at the top, it is likely you will not notice the infection until it is well established."

"It is also best to not always go to the same spot in the paddock as many pests and diseases will have hot spots. You may miss the beginning of the infestation if you are just checking the same section."

He urged farmers who did find something they were not sure about to call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

The story Keep an eye on crops for pests first appeared on Farm Online.

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