Australia: Tomato potato psyllid surveillance ramps up for spring

Agriculture Victoria and industry are gearing up for another round of surveillance for tomato potato psyllid (TPP).

Whilst there have been no confirmed reports of TPP in Victoria to date, it remains a significant production pest that attacks a range of plants (including potato, sweet potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli and tamarillo), and has been found in Perth, Western Australia.



Victoria's Acting Chief Plant Health Officer Dr Rosa Crnov said the focus of this round of surveillance would be on tomato, potato and nursery industries, as well as community gardens.

"Proving Victoria's area freedom from TPP will ensure that Victorian growers can continue to trade with other states, territories and overseas markets," Dr Crnov said.

Agriculture Victoria has placed restrictions on the importation of TPP-host material sourced from any state or territory, unless the material meets market access requirements for TPP.

These restrictions allow the movement of product into Victoria, whilst mitigating the risk of TPP spreading.

AUSVEG National TPP Coordinator Alan Nankivell has encouraged growers and horticulturists to get involved in area freedom surveillance activities to confirm that TPP is not present in Victoria.

"We encourage growers of host material to make contact with Agriculture Victoria to register their property for the surveillance program. Growers can also assist by reporting any suspicious insects or symptoms to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881."

Dr Crnov said growers should remain vigilant and be on the look out for potential pest insects during spring and summer when crops are flourishing.

"Victorian horticulturists are advised to implement best practice biosecurity measures and to regularly check their crops."

TPP is a tiny sap-sucking winged insect which resembles a tiny cicada. A noticeable sign is the presence of small insects jumping from the foliage when disturbed. Adult psyllids are sometimes called 'jumping plant lice', as they readily jump and fly when disturbed.

TPP can also transmit a bacterium called 'CLso' (Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum) that is associated with the zebra chip disease in potatoes. The bacterium can also cause stunting, stem death, yellowed leaves and yield losses in capsicums, chillies and tomatoes.

CLso bacterium does not pose a risk to human health and it has not been detected in Australia.

Growers and community members are reminded that it is an offence under the Plant Biosecurity Act 2010 to not report a suspect TPP outbreak to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline by calling 1800 084 881 or Agriculture Victoria by calling 136 186 or by emailing plant.protection@ecodev.vic.gov.au

For more information on the movement of TPP-host material into Victoria, please read the latest Industry Notice or contact your local Agriculture Victoria Plant Standards Officer on 136 186 or email market.access@ecodev.vic.gov.au

A fact sheet is also available to help growers identify TPP and the noticeable signs of infestation on plants and crops.

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