Fall armyworm ranked 31 on pest priority list

Fall armyworm fails to make top 10 on pest priority list

Horticulture
REPORT: The National Plant Biosecurity Status Report for 2019 is now available. Photo: Plant Health Australia

REPORT: The National Plant Biosecurity Status Report for 2019 is now available. Photo: Plant Health Australia

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Fall armyworm is bad news, but not bad enough to make the top 10 apparently.

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ALTHOUGH it continues to make headlines about its spread and potential impact on both the horticulture and grain industries, fall armyworm is ranked just 31 on Plant Health Australia's National Priority Plant Pests list for 2019.

The list was published within PHA's National Plant Biosecurity Status Report for 2019, released last month, bringing together contributions from more than 100 government, industry and research organisations.

The list was reviewed in August 2019, prior to fall armyworm's rapid spread in Australia after it was detected on the mainland, having arrived from islands in the Torres Strait, last December.

The disclaimer at the start of the report says that given there are continuous changes in trade patterns, pest distributions, control measures and agricultural practices, "this report can only provide a snapshot in time".

NASTIES: The National Priority Plant Pests, as published within the National Plant Biosecurity Status Report for 2019.

NASTIES: The National Priority Plant Pests, as published within the National Plant Biosecurity Status Report for 2019.

The much-feared banana scourge, Panama Tropical Race 4 disease was ranked 22nd on the list, with brown marmorated stink bug at nine, citrus canker at 16, grape phylloxera at 35 and potato late blight (exotic strains) at 37.

The top five nasties were:

  1. Xylella fastidiosa and exotic vectors
  2. Khapra beetle
  3. Spotted wing drosophila
  4. Exotic, economic fruit fly (lure and non-lure responsive)
  5. Karnal bunt

The National Priority Plant Pests (2019) is a list of Australia's most serious exotic plant pest threats.

PHA publishes the report annually to provide a comprehensive overview of the state of plant biosecurity in Australia in the previous calendar year.

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PHA chair, Steve McCutcheon, said 2019 was challenging for agricultural industries in Australia with extreme climatic events impacting production across the nation.

"Fortunately, our crops and native plants continue to be largely protected from the consequences of pests that affect plants overseas by a highly effective biosecurity system," he said.

The report captures the efforts being made by governments, industries, research agencies and the community to support Australia's biosecurity system.

It details more than 680 plant and pollinator biosecurity research, development and extension projects and 112 plant pest surveillance programs undertaken in 2019.

BIOSECURITY: Steve McCutcheon, chair, Plant Health Australia, says Australia's crops and native plants continue to be largely protected from the consequences of pests that affect plants overseas by a highly effective biosecurity system. Photo: Plant Health Australia.

BIOSECURITY: Steve McCutcheon, chair, Plant Health Australia, says Australia's crops and native plants continue to be largely protected from the consequences of pests that affect plants overseas by a highly effective biosecurity system. Photo: Plant Health Australia.

The report also lists nearly 400 high priority pests of Australia's plant industries, identified through biosecurity planning facilitated by PHA.

The National Plant Biosecurity Status Report for 2019 is now available at planthealthaustralia.com.au/npbsr

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The story Fall armyworm ranked 31 on pest priority list first appeared on Good Fruit & Vegetables.

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