Grain growers preparing for the start of the 2018 growing season have been reminded to implement robust biosecurity measures to ensure they produce a premium product that satisfies market requirements.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development grains biosecurity officer, Jeff Russell, said good paddock hygiene and record keeping was essential to protect crops and the industry from the risk of plant pests and diseases.
Mr Russell said paddock selection and preparation provided the building blocks of a successful crop.
“It is important to control summer weeds and volunteer crop seedlings that may provide a bridge for pests and diseases to spread,” he said.
“Many fungal diseases can also be harboured by crop stubble and in the soil, which can be exacerbated by back-to-back plantings of the same crop, which not only impacts on this year’s crop but also increases the risk of infection by neighbouring properties.”
Mr Russell encouraged growers to obtain farm inputs from accredited sources.
“Seed and fertiliser can be a potential source of pests, diseases and contamination so it is crucial to obtain products from reputable sources,” he said.
Seed quality certificates are advisable, while growers using kept seed will need to get it check and tested for germination.
Some markets require specific varieties so it is wise to keep a record of seed source and where it is planted on the property.
Good farm machinery hygiene is also imperative to prevent the spread of potential pests and diseases.
“Soil borne diseases and weed seeds can be transferred from paddock to paddock so it is wise to employ the come clean, go clean practice, to lower the risk of pest and disease transfer between paddocks,” Mr Russell said.
As the international grains trade becomes increasingly competitive, Mr Russell said it was crucial for WA grain growers to maintain its high biosecurity standards to ensure market access.
“Access to both existing and new markets is dependent on Australian grain being free of a wide range of pests, pathogens, weeds and chemical contamination,” he said.
“It is incumbent on all those involved in the grain value chain to do their part to protect their properties and the industry as a whole.”
For more information about grains biosecurity is available from Plant Health Australia.
Jodie Thomson/Megan Broad
+61 (0)8 9368 3937