This vintage, Vinehealth Australia is asking vineyard owners to focus on four key biosecurity activities. We’ve even come up with a cool acronym: VIPP. Ok, the acronym might not stick, but the topics are worth thinking about. So here are our top four topics for #V18.
- Vehicles, machinery and equipment
- Interstate links
- Property access
“Best practice farm-gate hygiene can stop the spread of pests and diseases, including phylloxera. These four focus areas will help to ensure you do your bit to keep your own vines and our industry safe,” said Inca Pearce, CEO of Vinehealth Australia.
Do you allow unauthorised vehicles to drive down your vine rows? If so, you’re risking the health of your vines. Ensure all visitors report to the office on arrival. Use signs, fences and gates to advise of property restrictions. Can you provide a vineyard vehicle for visitors to use? And make sure parking areas are away from vines, on a hard pack surface.
When it comes to machinery and equipment, make sure you check the following before you grant access to your vine rows:
- That their movement complies with state plant quarantine regulations;
- That they are clean of all soil and plant material;
- That they have undergone appropriate sterilisation according to state plant quarantine regulations; and
- That they are accompanied by all required biosecurity documentation outlined in state plant quarantine regulations.
Do you regularly review your links with interstate vineyards, wineries, contractors and suppliers? Are those businesses in a Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) or Phylloxera Risk Zone (PRZ)?
It’s important you understand the regulations and documentation required for the movement of grapes, grape products, machinery and equipment used in vineyards, diagnostic samples, soil and propagation material between Phylloxera Management Zones within and between states. You can get more information about state quarantine regulations here.
We know that increasing numbers of people are visiting our vineyards. They are tourists, contractors, sales and supplier representatives, marketing staff and VIPS, researchers and others contributing to operational management. These people come with a risk of picking up and spreading pests, diseases and weeds on their shoes, clothing, vehicle tyres and machinery and equipment they might bring with them.
It’s therefore important that you are in control of the flow of people around your property so you can manage and mitigate these risks. Ask all visitors to report to the office (or cellar door) on arrival. Keep a visitor log, recording vineyard regions each person has visited in the past three weeks and check whether there has been a visit to a vineyard overseas or in a Phylloxera Infested or Risk Zone in Victoria, New South Wales or Queensland. Entry of anyone to your vine rows must only be granted under controlled conditions. For further information and practical tips, refer to our ‘Biosecurity Planning for Vineyard Owners Hosting Visitors’ fact sheet. Importantly, also ensure you provide biosecurity training for all vineyard staff including contract and casual labour on hygiene protocols.
Ensure your designated parking areas are away from vines and well signposted. Minimise the number of entry points to your vineyard. Use signs, fences and gates to advise of property restrictions. If vineyards must be accessed, provide site vehicles to ensure only ‘safe’ vehicle tyres come into contact with your vineyard soil.
In tourist settings, you can also plant hedges and use attractive fencing or bunting at common entry points to vine rows – these are usually vines that are in close proximity to car parks, cellar doors and roadways.