Industry update 2 at 14th February 2017
The Department of Agriculture and Food is broadening surveillance in commercial crops and backyard gardens in metropolitan and regional areas, following the confirmation of tomato potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli) in Western Australia on Friday (10 February 2017).
The tomato potato psyllid can significantly impact production, attacking a range of plants in the Solanaceae family including potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum and chilli, along with sweet potato.
The pest has been found at a commercial property north of Perth and several locations across the metropolitan area.
The impacted properties have been quarantined, and the movement of host material (plant and vegetable) from these properties has been restricted.
This is the first time the psyllid has been detected in Australia.
This insect pest is a significant production pest in other countries where it is present, including the USA, Central America and New Zealand.
The tomato potato psyllid can carry the bacterium “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum”, causing the ‘zebra chip’ disease in potato. The bacterium has not been found in any samples taken to date.
The department is working with vegetablesWA, Potato Growers Association of WA and Nursery and Gardening Industry Western Australia (NGIWA), to respond and minimise the impact of this pest.
Surveillance continues in metropolitan and regional areas to determine the spread of the pest. Growers will be contacted by vegetablesWA or the department to advise of inspections on property.
The visit will include a visual inspection of crops, particularly solanaceous crops and any solanaceous weeds surrounding crops, collection of suspect plant material for testing for the bacterium and the installation of ‘sticky traps’ to trap insects.
The department is continuing to liaise with other jurisdictions, the Federal department and industry through the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests.
Please check the latest interstate trade requirements in relation to plant material from the Solanaceae or Convolvulaceae families. Please contact the relevant authority in the state you are exporting to. Alternatively, enquiries can be directed to the Quarantine WA Exports Officer on 08 9334 1800 for further information.
Tomato potato psyllid: a mature adult psyllid in comparison to a 5 cent piece. Note the small size of the insect and how the wings are held vertically.
Check your crops
Commercial growers are reminded to check for signs of the psyllid and report any unusual detections to the department using the MyPestGuide Reporter app, available free from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Growers are advised not to spray for the psyllid until their crops have been surveyed and appropriate treatment has been identified.
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
Industry meetings have been arranged in several areas. Confirmed meetings are:
Wanneroo – 14th February 4pm – Wanneroo Tavern
Baldivis – 15th February 3pm – Golden Ponds
Dandaragan – 16th February 4pm – Dandaragan CRC
Bunbury – 17th February 4pm – DAFWA Bunbury Office
Geraldton – 20th February 3pm – DAFWA Geraldton Office
Carnarvon – 21st February 3pm – DAFWA Carnarvon Office “Bomb Shelter”
Manjimup – 23rd February 4pm – Manjimup Horticulture Research Centre
Albany- 24th February 4pm – DAFWA Albany Office
Industry contacts for growers
Phone: 08 9481 0834
Potato Growers Association of WA
Phone: (08) 9481 0834
Department of Agriculture and Food, WA
Brenda Coutts, Industry Liaison Phone: 0429 193 973
Further information and general enquiries
- More information, including how to look for and report the pest, is available from the department website at www.agric.gov.au/tpp
- Pest and Disease Information Service Phone: 1800 084 881