Providing practical information to help you protect your farm from biosecurity risks

Biosecurity defense mechanisms

July 21, 2011

Russian-wheat-aphidIdentification and availability of chemicals is an important part of responding to a pest incursion in the grains industry.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) evaluates the potential effects of agricultural chemicals on both the crop and the pest before it can be used by growers.

Emergency-use permits can be provided for chemicals where pest incursions require immediate action. However, before an emergency-use permit is issued, the APVMA must be satisfied that the product can effectively control pests and will not harm people or have non-targeted effects on crops, animals or the environment.

The permit application process aims to rapidly release products in the event of a pest outbreak, although there can be delays in gathering all the required information.

The Grains Farm Biosecurity Program (GFBP), which is managed by Plant Health Australia and funded by grower levies through Grain Producers Australia, assists in gathering data to support permits for pest threats.

Victorian Department of Primary Industries grains biosecurity officer Jim Moran assembles the initial data packages to help implement emergency-use permits.

Mr Moran says the Russian wheat aphid, found in major grains regions across the world, is being targeted as a serious exotic pest.

“If Russian wheat aphid were to get into Australian wheat or barley, insecticides would be one of the first defences we’d need to have readily available,” he said.

“Having information on potential products we could use, active constituents, proposed use and similarity to other products on the market are all needed to speed up the process. If this accelerates the process by even one day, it will help considerably during an eradication response,” he says.

This work is part of a package being developed by the GFBP that supports ongoing research across Australia through projects funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

To obtain a free copy of a Biosecurity Manual for Grain Producers or other grower material, or to discuss biosecurity for your farm with a Grains Biosecurity Officer, visit www.planthealthaustralia.com.au.