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New plant pest detection in commercial potato crop, 5 July 2017

By July 6, 2017 No Comments

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is responding to a confirmed detection of Dickeya dianthicola in a Western Australian commercial potato crop. This is an emergency plant pest not previously known to occur in Australia. The pathogen causes the diseases blackleg and soft rot in potatoes. Overseas it has been reported to cause significant yield loss in potato crops. It can also infect some ornamental plants, artichoke and chicory.

vegetablesWA has been working with DPIRD and further information for growers will be forwarded as soon as possible.

Industry Update 1 – Dickeya Dianthicola

There has been a confirmed detection of the plant pest Dickeya Dianthicola in seed potato in Western Australia. The pest has been confirmed on one property north of Perth, with a suspect detection from another property in the south-west undergoing further testing.

Dickeya Dianthicola is an emergency plant pest not previously known to occur in Australia. It can cause the diseases blackleg and soft rot in potatoes, and is a major threat to Australia’s potato industry. Overseas it has been reported to cause significant yield loss in potato crops. It can also infect some ornamental plants, artichoke and chicory.

There are pathogens already present in Australia that can cause similar soft rot and blackleg symptoms. However, Dickeya Dianthicola is more aggressive and causes disease at lower infection levels.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has put in place a number of containment measures to prevent spread, including tracing activities and the quarantine of the infected and suspect properties (two), as well as two high risk trace properties in the South-West.

The Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests has met to discuss this detection, and has kept open the possibility for eradication, dependent upon further surveillance to determine the extent of the outbreak.

DPIRD recognises this detection comes at a very difficult time for our horticulture industry, in particular potato growers, following market access issues as a result of the detection of the pest, tomato potato psyllid, earlier this year.

However, as the trade in potatoes from WA is currently restricted, there are no further trade restrictions at present either for interstate. Dickeya Dianthicola is not associated with the tomato potato psyllid.

Early reporting is critical to contain the pest and prevent it from spreading to more properties. On-farm biosecurity practices will also help to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of pests and diseases.

Further details on Dickeya Dianthicola symptoms, how it can spread and suggested biosecurity measures will be provided as soon as possible.

DPIRD will continue to keep industry and growers informed through regular updates.

Check and report

Commercial growers are reminded to check and report any unusual detection’s to the department using the MyPestGuide Reporter app, available free from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Practice sound farm biosecurity procedures to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of pests and diseases. More information on biosecurity is available at the Farm Biosecurity website farmbiosecurity.com.au

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