Australian Truffle Pest & Disease Newsletter

Issue 2 - September 2016

 

External pinholes - sign of truffle beetle infestation
External pinholes - sign of truffle beetle infestation
Damage to truffle gleba by a truffle beetle larva
Damage to truffle gleba by a truffle beetle larva
'Western truffle beetle' (arrow) with slaters and ladybird
'Western truffle beetle' (arrow) with slaters and ladybird

 

BREAKING NEWS: What is considered to be a native species of truffle beetle has been found in Western Australian truffle orchards. The pest status of the beetle is being quantified. Both larvae and the small brown adults feed within truffles resulting in a honeycomb gallery effect. Adult beetles have been attracted to truffle pieces placed in pitfall traps. More on this insect in future issues.

Introduction

Pest management in truffle orchards is relevant to both the establishment and ongoing maintenance of host trees. Further, the yield and quality of the truffles are affected by invertebrate pests directly and indirectly through their contribution to truffle rot.

We acknowledge the major funders for their support of the project:

  • Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC)
  • Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA)
  • Australian Truffle Growers Association (ATGA)
  • Truffle Producers of Western Australia (TPWA)
  • Australian National University (ANU)
  • Department of Primary Industries of New South Wales (DPI NSW)
  • Truffle and Wine Company, Manjimup WA. (Truffle & Wine Co)

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia is the lead agency in conducting this project and involves a team based in WA and eastern Australia.

The project team is made up of Stewart Learmonth, Helen Collie, Alan Jacob and Alison Mathews of DAFWA, consultant Alan Davey from Advyron RS Innovations, project officer through the Truffle & Wine Co. Manjimup WA, Celeste Linde of the ANU, consultant Anne Mitchell of Manjimup Underground and Ainsley Seago of DPI NSW.

 

The major components of the project are:

  1. Conduct a survey of truffle producers to assess the scope of pests and diseases and their management.
  2. Undertake regular monitoring at selected sites to document the occurrence, seasonality and impact of all pests for the life of the project.
  3. Answer enquiries from all producers to confirm the presence of known pests and diseases as well as to capture any unusual or new pest and disease issues and to provide a conduit for the identification and management options.
  4. Conduct a detailed study of the biology and management of slugs, snails and collembolans to clarify the species involved, their seasonality, damage caused and management options.
  5. Incorporate a review of best management practice for the major pests and diseases of truffles and their host trees in a management manual.
  6. Commence a mapping project to document location and other details of the Australian industry. This will be an ongoing exercise in the life of the project and beyond.

This project has now begun with the survey which is in the process of compilation for WA and near completion of interviews in eastern Australia. Orchard mapping has been completed in WA, and, in concert with the survey, mapping of truffle orchards in eastern Australia is underway. Mapping will be ongoing as information on truffle orchards comes to hand.

If you’re interested in other truffle information produced by the DAFWA they have web page on Cultivation of black truffles in Western Australia.

For any comments or questions in relation to the newsletter, please contact the project manager Stewart Learmonth: Ph (08) 9777 0167; 0417 959 139; stewart.learmonth@agric.wa.gov.au

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