National and state biosecurity
There are biosecurity measures in place at a national and state level to reduce the risk of exotic pests entering Australia and Western Australia (WA). The generic term ‘pest’ in this case includes invertebrate/insect pests, diseases and weeds. Plant Health Australia, on behalf of the truffle industry nationally, has produced a Biosecurity Plan for the Truffle Industry. It focuses on exotic pests, those not known to exist in Australia or are under active management in Australia, and have been identified to pose a threat to the industry. The plan provides information on threat identification, pest risk assessments, risk mitigation and preparedness. All growers should have a copy of this plan and be aware of the signs of these significant exotic pests.
On-farm biosecurity and hygiene
As well as working to keep out significant pest threats that do not currently occur in Australia or WA, growers should keep in mind that there are also pests already in WA. It is important to work towards keeping all of these out of your truffle orchard, or at least minimising their spread should they become established.
Good biosecurity and hygiene practices in place at the farm and orchard level will minimise the risk of new pests from both entering your orchard and spreading undetected and unrestricted within your orchard. Good internal farm practices will also assist in minimising the spread of existing pests within your truffle orchard.
Unwanted and unmanaged pests in your truffle orchard can lead to:
- reduction of product quality due to direct damage or competition
- reduction of yield due to damage or competition, including from other mycorrhizae fungi
- loss of reputation in the market due to contamination with inferior truffles.
It is impractical to stop all movement onto your property, but by developing and following a good, practical farm biosecurity plan, you can minimise the risk of pest threats entering and becoming established. The Farm Biosecurity web site has good biosecurity resources and a template for the development of farm biosecurity plans.