A description for cleaning used grape harvesters is provided in SA’s Plant Quarantine Standard. To effectively clean a harvester:

  1. Remove any parts of the harvester that may hold and hide vineyard soil and plant material. This includes all harvester belts (discharge, cross feed, transfer, pick up and elevator belts) and covers or guards that have been designed to open or completely detach from the harvester frame. These are terms ‘dismantled parts’.
  2. Thoroughly clean the harvester and all dismantled parts with a steam cleaner, pressure washer or air hose to ensure all vineyard soil and plant material is completely removed. Clean the inside, outside, top of harvester and cabin. Start at the top so that vineyard soil and plant materials doesn’t wash back over areas that have already been cleaned. Pay particular attention to areas where material can get caught or carried inside the machine, including fans, conveyor belts, baskets (buckets), bow rods/beaters, fish plates, onboard deleafers, destemmers, hoppers and sorting tables.

While this cleaning process is relevant to all harvesters irrespective of where they are located, in some cases, there is a requirement to follow cleaning with a sterilisation step to facilitate movement from the source to the desired destination. Consult your state biosecurity department to confirm biosecurity requirements relevant to your situation.

Harvesters post highest risk

Vinehealth Australia rates used grape harvesters as the vector which poses the highest likelihood of introducing and spreading grape phylloxera into and within South Australia. This is because:

  • As complex machines, they are inherently difficult to clean of vine material. How many times have you started up a harvester the season after using and cleaning it, and some grape material has shot out of the fans?
  • They are used in the vineyard at the time of the year when phylloxera are in the vine canopy and therefore are highly likely to pick up phylloxera in locations where the pest is present.
  • If cleaning does not remove all vine material, clods may be embedded in the machine which in turn may contain one or more phylloxera.
  • Currently, heat treatment is the only technically justified sterilisation measure against phylloxera for grape harvesters. It is most effective when applied to clean surfaces.
  • Research is yet to be completed to validate what the treatment specifications would need to be (time and temperature) to kill any phylloxera present in clods of vine material of varying sizes that enclose phylloxera insects.

Irrespective of which Phylloxera Management Zone a harvester is imported from into South Australia, it is imperative that the South Australian entry conditions for grape harvesters are met. These are outlined in the South Australian Plant Quarantine Standard, Condition 7 Clause 2.

To learn more about importing a harvester into SA click here.

As always, if you have questions about farm-gate hygiene contact us on (08) 273 0550, email admin@vinehealth.com.au or visit www.vinehealth.com.au