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Mountain Views

Mail C o v e r in g t h e f o o t h ills o f t h e Ya r r a R a n g e s & M u r r in d in d iS h ir e s

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Biosecurity in Yarra Valley vineyards under attack from Phylloxera. 192080

Fine vines threat By Michael Doran With the Yarra Valley established as one of the world's leading wine regions, any threat to biosecurity within the vineyards causes concern to all industry stakeholders. Phylloxera is a devastating insect that feeds on the roots of grapevines and in Australia it is confined to a number of wine regions, in parts of Victoria and New South Wales. The existing Maroondah Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) loosley encompasses areas from Kinglake down to Mount Evelyn and from Healesville across to Yarra Glen. According to an Agriculture Victoria statement of 29 March, the disease has now been detected in two new locations, St Andrews and Coldstream, leading to an expansion of the ex-

isting infection zone. Caroline Evans, CEO of the Yarra Valley Wine Growers Association, said that any spread of Phylloxera is serious and can have a negative economic impact on the industry. "It's in this region and the growers and Agricultural Victoria (AV) are working very hard at trying to curtail its spread, with a focus on really good on-farm biosecurity practices," she said. "But unfortunately sometimes we do get a new detection, which is what's happened recently. "One of the things that's important in being able to manage those biosecurity practices is to know whether or not a property has Phylloxera, because you can have it and not be aware of it for some time. Self reporting is mandatory so if you feel you have phylloxera in your vines

you are required to report it." In the fight against Phylloxera, growers are being encouraged to use a simple, downloadable app, Snap Send Solve, to report suspect vines to Agriculture Victoria. Victoria's Chief Plant Health Officer Dr Rosa Crnov is urging growers to monitor their vines and report any suspected infestations to the department. "If you suspect a vine on your property has Phylloxera, you can use the Snap Send Solve application on your smartphone to take a photo for follow-up by Agriculture Victoria," she said. "They will then will then undertake an inspection of the vine to confirm whether it is affected by Phylloxera." AV is running a pilot surveillance program

for the next three weeks to assess the status of the infestation. "Grower participation in the pilot is crucial," Dr Crnov said. "If something doesn't look right then growers just need to get in touch with us." "The concern is purely economic, it doesn't impact the quality and it's not like we can't continue to grow grapes and make great wine," Caroline Evans said. "To replace a vineyard takes four years until you have got your volume back so it's an enormous economic impact, which is why everyone is working so hard to contain it." As well as the new smartphone app, growers can call 136186 or or email market.access@ ecodev.vic.gov.au with any concerns they may have around suspect vines.

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Mail - Mountain Views Mail - 02nd April 2019  

Mail - Mountain Views Mail - 02nd April 2019