Your farm-gate hygiene questions answered
Q: Why is it important to keep visitors out of my vineyard?
A: Footwear, clothing and vehicle tyres can pick up pests, diseases and weeds at one property and spread them to another. All of these are unwanted and some could be devastating. It is therefore important to assume all visitors to your vineyard could be infested, and incorporate baseline biosecurity practices into management of your vineyard.
Q: How do I prevent unwanted visitors from accessing my vineyard?
A: A fence or hedge can be enough of a visual barrier to prevent unauthorised visitors from entering your vineyard. Using appropriate signage can also help communicate to visitors why they shouldn’t enter your vineyard.
Q: What’s the best way to keep a record of visitors to my vineyard?
A: Ensure you ask all visitors to sign in once onsite. See our handy Visitor Sign In Book which you can download and use. This way you can track who has been to your property and when, in case you need to perform traceback in the event of a pest, disease or weed outbreak.
Q: Why is it important to ask visitors where they’ve been before?
A: Footwear and clothing can inadvertently pick up pests, diseases and weeds from other areas, which you may not have on your property. Their introduction could be damaging to your vines. You need to know the wine regions your visitors have explored recently to understand the risk they pose to you.
For example, if visitors have been in an interstate vineyard in the past 3 weeks, confirm which phylloxera management zone the vineyard is in by visiting vinehealth.com.au/resources/maps/. If in a PIZ or PRZ, strict hygiene protocols must be used for visitors, including disinfesting footwear and ensuring their vehicle is not driven onto your property and remains on a hard pack surface.
Q: Where do I start with farm-gate hygiene?
A: You can view our handy biosecurity checklist to understand the 10 steps to best practice biosecurity. We encourage you to work your way through this checklist and tick off as many actions as possible, to ensure you are protecting your most valuable asset.
Vinehealth Australia is also developing two farm-gate hygiene kits to help you:
- The Vinehealth Grower Disinfestation Kit for vineyard owners; and
- The Vinehealth Cellar Door Kit for tourist-facing properties.
These low cost kits are a good introduction to basic biosecurity systems to protect your property from pest and disease incursions. We’ll supply more information about these kits soon.
Q: I have contractors coming onto my property. How do I know my vineyard won’t get infected with any pests, diseases or weeds that could be carried by their machinery or equipment?
A: Risks can be reduced by insisting on a policy, which is clearly communicated to contractors, of all machinery and equipment being cleaned of soil and plant material prior to coming onto your vineyard. You should also insist that contractors adhere to all state plant quarantine requirements for sterilisation prior to coming onto your vineyard and you should ask for copies of all relevant paperwork. It is also best practice to provide adequate cleaning facilities for contractors to clean down their machinery and equipment of soil and plant material prior to leaving your property.
Q: How long does footwear need to be submerged in the chlorine bath?
A: For effective disinfestation of footwear from all strains of phylloxera, it must be submerged for 60 seconds in a 2% sodium hypochlorite solution. View our Footwear and Small Hand Tool Disinfestation Protocol here.
Q: How can phylloxera be spread?
A: Phylloxera can be spread in soil, grapes, grape products such as must and unfiltered juice, grape marc, machinery and equipment used in vineyards, diagnostic samples, grapevine propagation material such as cuttings, rootlings and potted vines. Phylloxera insects can survive for at least eight days in hot weather out of the soil, and longer in cool weather. Only one phylloxera is needed for an outbreak.
Q: I need help identifying pests or disease I haven’t seen before, can you help?
A: Vinehealth Australia has designed a handy poster to help you identify exotics and high priority endemics. We have also developed some supporting documents (download below) to provide more technical information about these pests and diseases.
Q: What is the difference between ‘biosecurity’ and ‘farm-gate hygiene’?
A: Biosecurity is a system to reduce the risk of entry, establishment and spread of pests, diseases and weeds that threaten the economy and environment. It’s also a system for managing and recovering from an incursion of a pest and disease by minimising its impact through eradication, containment and ongoing asset protection.
Farm-gate hygiene is a system of site-specific biosecurity activities to minimise the risk of pest, disease and weed incursions on individual properties.
More questions? Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (08) 8273 0550.