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

Grains pests


Grains | Grains pests | Grains product management | Grain storage options

The following are some key high priority exotic pest threats for the Australian grains industry as identified through the development of the Industry Biosecurity Plan for the Grains Industry. Any of these pests would have serious consequences should they enter and become established in Australia.

Information about other pests of grain and pests of rice is available from the grains industry page or the rice industry page on the Plant Health Australia website.

Implementing biosecurity measures to control endemic pests will go a long way towards preventing exotic pests from entering and becoming established on your farm.

To improve biosecurity measures on your farm, include exotic pests when undertaking routine pest surveillance activities. Ensure that all surveillance activities, for both endemic and exotic pests, are recorded. Visit Records for templates to record surveillance results.

Karnal bunt

Karnal bunt 4

Tilletia indica: Photo by PaDIL

  • Hosts are wheat, durum and triticale
  • Parts of seeds are blackened and crush relatively easily
  • Infected grain has a distinct fishy smell
  • If it became established in Australia, access to over 45 international markets would be restricted and grain price would be significantly reduced

Fact sheet

Khapra beetle

Khapra beetle 1

Trogoderma granarium: Photo by Ministry of Agriculture and regional Development Archive, Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development, Hungary,

  • Adults are small (2-3 mm long) and do not fly
  • Spread in infested grain
  • Larvae are hairy and can survive for over a year without food
  • Phosphine fumigation gives poor control
  • If established, it would affect market access

Fact sheet

Hessian fly and Barley stem gall midge (Mayetiola destructor and M. hordei)

Hessian fly 1

Photo by Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

  • Adults are small (2-4 mm long) and look like mosquitos
  • Pupae have a ‘flaxseed’ appearance
  • Attack leaves, stems and heads of cereals
  • Most chemical controls are not effective
  • Cereal crop losses up to 40% could occur

Fact sheet

Sunn pest (Eurygaster integriceps)

Sunn pest 1

Photo by ICARDA

  • Brown bug with wide oval-shaped body (12 mm long) with a wide triangular head
  • Attacks most cereal crops
  • Colonies can be seen on cereal heads in spring
  • Injects enzymes into the plant as it feeds which can result in grain damage and abortion

Fact sheet

Barley stripe rust (Puccinia striiformis f. sp. hordei)

Barley stripe rust 1

Photo by PaDIL

  • Would infect barley in all Australian growing regions
  • Approximately 80% of Australia’s barley varieties would be susceptible
  • Yellow stripes of fungal spores produced between veins of leaves
  • Can be spread by wind and rain, or on clothing, machinery and tools
  • Any stripe rust on barley should be reported

Fact sheet

Wheat stem rust, pathotype Ug99 (Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici)

Ug99 Wheat stem rust 3

Photo by University of Georgia Plant Pathology Archive,

  • Pathotype identified in Uganda in 1999 that has overcome several stem rust resistance genes
  • Many Australian wheat varieties will be susceptible
  • Elliptical blisters produced on stems, which break open to reveal a mass of rust coloured spores
  • Stem rust on known resistant varieties should be reported

Fact sheet

Soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera glycines)

Soybean cyst nematode

Photo by CR Grau, University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Considered most damaging pathogen of soybean worldwide.
  • Affects the roots, resulting in patchy growth, poor tillering and stunting of plants.
  • Spreads rapidly. Female nematodes contain eggs that remain viable for up to 10 years without a host.

Fact sheet

More information

Other high priority pests of the grains industry are listed on this page

Pest surveillance

Reporting suspect pests