Last year, Vinehealth Australia designed a ‘Top 10 farm-gate hygiene risks’ poster, which highlights 10 best practice farm-gate hygiene activities you should be doing to protect your vines from new pests, diseases and weeds. We sent each grower a copy of this poster which we hope you are looking at often.

We need to advise you that we have recently updated the wording of one of the top 10 risks as follows:

“I require everyone to report on arrival at my property. I keep a visitor log, recording vineyard regions each visitor has visited in the past 3 weeks and check whether there has been a visit to a vineyard in a Phylloxera Infested or Risk Zone in Victoria, New South Wales or Queensland.”

The change from eight days to three weeks has come from a review of what we know and don’t know about phylloxera. Initial research on unknown phylloxera strain(s) demonstrated that first instar phylloxera can survive for up to seven days at 25°C.  However, more recent research has shown that first instar grape phylloxera can survive for up to 21 days at much lower temperatures in water.

Additionally, research published in 2017 highlighted the variability in survival of genetically diverse endemic phylloxera strains for various footwear disinfectants. This resulted in the time required to immerse footwear in a 2% sodium hypochlorite solution, doubling from 30 to 60 seconds to ensure effective kill against six endemic phylloxera strains.

There is increased recognition of significant variability in survival of different endemic phylloxera strains to disinfectants and temperature. There is also an absence of life-table studies to determine the influence of temperature and other environmental factors on survival and development of a range of genetically diverse endemic phylloxera strains, with and without food.

Therefore, Vinehealth Australia believes it is prudent to take a conservative approach and recommends vineyard owners now ask visitors onto their property where they have been for the 21 days prior.  We need to continue to be agile to adopt changes to our farm-gate hygiene practices in a considered way as appropriate to ensure industry is protected.

As soon as new science becomes available regarding survival of different phylloxera strains through the current Wine Australia-funded phylloxera research being undertaken by Agriculture Victoria staff, we will incorporate findings into our protocols.

Click here for a link to our updated poster.

We encourage all growers to focus on asking visitors where they have been prior to coming onsite and to alter any currently used visitor registers to reflect this change, or to use our supplied Word template you can download here.