Agriculture Victoria has announced the third new detection of phylloxera in Victoria’s Yarra Valley since February 2019.

Further to our Biosecurity Alerts advising of phylloxera detections in a Victorian Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) at Coldstream (issued on 28 March 2019) and in a Victorian Phylloxera Risk Zone (PRZ) at St Andrews (issued on 1 March 2019), Agriculture Victoria has released a new Industry Notice advising of a phylloxera detection at Seville in a Victorian  PRZ.

All three detections are in and around the Maroondah PIZ. The strain of the three phylloxera detections has been confirmed as G1; the same as that currently found in the Maroondah PIZ.

In response to each detection – and in accordance with the National Phylloxera Management Protocol – a 5km radial quarantine buffer zone has been placed around each infested property. Where these buffer areas extend beyond the current Maroondah PIZ boundary, proposed boundary expansions to the Maroondah PIZ have been identified.

Formal gazettal of the new Maroondah PIZ boundary is underway. Under South Australian legislation, the 5km buffer zone is considered a Phylloxera Interim Buffer Zone (PIBZ) until formal gazettal as a PIZ. Refer to the South Australian Plant Quarantine Standard for relevant movement conditions out of a PIZ/PIBZ.

Click here to see a map of the proposed new Maroondah PIZ boundary with the three extension areas. Click here to see an updated national phylloxera management zones map.

Agriculture Victoria and Wine Yarra Valley are examining opportunities on how to best manage the Maroondah PIZ boundary into the future.

If you are moving any phylloxera risk vectors out of these areas, you must comply with both the movement conditions stated in Agriculture Victoria’s Industry Notice dated 23 May 2019 for moving into the remainder of Victoria and also comply with entry conditions of the receiving state if movements are occurring beyond Victoria.

What are we doing?

Vinehealth Australia’s CEO Inca Pearce and Technical Manager Suzanne McLoughlin visited Agriculture Victoria on 11 June to discuss these phylloxera incursions and to highlight the need for the national wine and grape industries to learn about why phylloxera might be spreading in Victoria.

This meeting also involved discussions on broader phylloxera activities being undertaken by Agriculture Victoria, including rezoning projects.

From a regulatory perspective in SA, Vinehealth Australia is working closely with Biosecurity SA to strengthen entry conditions for phylloxera risk vectors in SA’s Plant Quarantine Standard, for which industry consultation closes on 30 June.

Australian Grape & Wine Inc (Australian Grape & Wine) has established a new Wine Biosecurity Committee. Improving phylloxera management in Australia will be a key priority of this group.

“These new outbreaks underline the ongoing threat that phylloxera poses. As an industry, wemust agree on how to better manage phylloxera. And vineyard owners around Australia must be ever-more vigilant with farm-gate hygiene practices,” said Tony Battaglene, Australian Grape & Wine Chief Executive.

What can you do?

Vineyard owners, winemakers and all those involved in grape and wine production should undertake the following activities to protect their assets from a biosecurity incursion:

1. BE INFORMED

  • Be aware of current and potential future biosecurity issues.
  • Be aware of biosecurity regulations that affect the wine and grape industries.
  • Stay abreast of latest information by signing up to Vinehealth Australia’s e-news and biosecurity alerts and regularly check our website for useful materials.

2. DO THE RIGHT THING

  • Know where phylloxera is and is not by staying abreast of the latest Phylloxera Management Zones map.
  • Be aware of the biosecurity regulations for importing phylloxera risk vectors (grapevine planting material, machinery and equipment used in vineyards, grapes, grape products including wine, juice, must and marc and diagnostic samples and vineyard soil) into your state and ensure your movements comply every time
  • Footwear and clothing can pick up and spread phylloxera, but people movement is not regulated. It is your responsibility to be aware of and implement best-practice farmgate hygiene for phylloxera which will hold you in good stead for all pest, disease and weed incursions. This includes staying abreast of the latest disinfestation protocols, asking all visitors to your vineyard which wine regions they and their machinery/equipment have visited in the three weeks prior and recording this for traceability purposes.

3. DISCUSS BIOSECURITY OPENLY

  • Have biosecurity conversations openly and often with your staff, peers, contractors and suppliers, to ensure biosecurity stays at the forefront of your operations. We all have joint responsibility for biosecurity.

4. REPORT ANYTHING UNUSUAL

  • Know your vineyard blocks and report any unusual growth symptoms or pests you see to Vinehealth Australia on (08) 8273 0550, to your state jurisdiction, or to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. Identifying something unusual early can limit its spread and increase the chance of eradication.
  • Mandatory reporting of phylloxera in every state is required by law.

About phylloxera in Australia

Phylloxera is a devastating soft bodied insect pest of grapevines worldwide, affecting Vitis species (commercial grapevines and ornamental vines). There are 83 endemic strains in Australia that are confined to a number of wine regions in parts of Victoria and New South Wales. Phylloxera represents a major threat to the vast majority of Australia’s vineyards that are planted on own roots, which are highly susceptible to attack by the pest.

Australian grapegrowing regions are delineated by phylloxera status into three management zones:

  • Phylloxera Exclusion Zones (PEZ) have been surveyed and found free or are declared free historically.
  • Phylloxera Risk Zones (PRZ) are of unknown status.
  • Phylloxera Infested Zones (PIZ) contain vineyards known to be or have been infested.

For enquiries please contact Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive, Australian Grape & Wine: 0413 014 807, Inca Pearce, CEO, Vinehealth Australia: 0418 818 543 or your state regulator.

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