News & Media

Spring surveillance under national plan against horticulture pest

Released on

Released on:
Wednesday, 13. September 2017 - 12:00

Trapping for the horticultural pest, tomato potato psyllid (TPP), will ramp up later this spring with the warmer weather conducive to increased insect activity.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development will be calling on commercial vegetable growers and backyard gardeners to play a key role.

The trapping and surveillance is part of a national plan supported by industry and government to help industry effectively manage the destructive pest.

TPP feeds on tomato, potato, capsicum, chilli, goji berry, tamarillo, eggplant as well as sweet potato, leading to loss of plant vigor and yield. Uncontrolled weeds such as nightshade and tree tobacco can also harbor the pest.

Department Irrigated Agriculture Executive Director John Ruprecht said the psyllid had significantly impacted on Western Australian growers since its detection in February, limiting interstate trade for a range of plants and produce.

“This national plan will support improved management of TPP and build confidence around the status of the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso), which can be associated with the psyllid but has not been detected in Australia,” Mr Ruprecht said.

“The eight-month plan will involve national surveillance, ongoing market access work, increased research on pest management and development of on-farm management plans.”

Mr Ruprecht said surveillance for the pest in Western Australia will resume in late spring.

“The department will work closely with landholders in metropolitan and regional areas to trap psyllids,” Mr Ruprecht said.

“We have had great support from landholders in supporting surveillance activities since the pest was first detected in WA.

“As part of the response to date, surveillance has been carried out across more than 1600 properties, involving the deployment of more than 10,000 traps.”

Other states will also implement surveillance plans for the pest.

The department will lead new research including examining chemical control options, post-harvest disinfestation trials and assessing biological control options using predator species.

Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937