Use only clean planting and propagation material (ie tested and certified as pest free). Obtain these only from nurseries that provide reliable records of the material’s source and testing history. For a list of key questions to ask your nursery provider please see the Nursery provider quality checklist. It is sometimes not possible to visually or reliably assess the health of your planting material. Under some conditions, bacteria, viruses and other disease causing pathogens can remain dormant for extended periods of time within or on the surface of plant tissue before showing any obvious visual symptoms. To minimise your risk:
Chemical residues on grape produce can result in rejection from export and domestic markets, particularly as these residues can pose a risk to human health. Appropriate training and advice on the safe use of pesticides should be obtained prior to chemical control of pests. There is a legal obligation to always follow label regulations and withholding periods. Don’t put your livelihood or the industry at risk through poor or illegal practice.
In most states and territories, growers and contractors who apply pesticides must complete an accredited chemical training course (eg ChemCert or SMARTtrain) to gain the appropriate knowledge base on the safe use of pesticides and the legal requirements. Details about regulations for agricultural and veterinary chemicals can be obtained from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority or from relevant state and territory governments. Consult these sources frequently for information regarding chemical regulations as these may change.
Maintaining good vineyard, packing facility and nursery hygiene can minimise cross-contamination and environments that promote pest proliferation. It is particularly important to dispose of waste fruit and all plant material carefully.
Waste plant material should be disposed of away from nurseries, vineyard areas, water sources and packing sheds. Additional precautions should be taken when dealing with any material (including pruning’s and fruit) removed due to suspected pest damage to ensure that healthy plants are not exposed to potentially infected or infested plant material.
Appropriate disposal mechanisms for plant waste include deep burial (away from production areas) or burning. Ensure that any machinery, equipment, vehicles and hand tools that are used when dealing with potentially infected plant material are thoroughly cleaned of all soil and plant residues prior to being used elsewhere on your property.
There are many best management practices and quality assurance schemes available; including: ISO 9000, SQF 2000, NIASA, Freshcare and Woolworths Quality Assurance Scheme. If your vineyard is accredited with such assurance schemes, it is likely that some fundamental techniques of biosecurity best practice are already being applied.
The National Vine Accreditation Scheme developed by the Australian Vine Improvement Association (AVIA) provides an audit trail from the point of cutting (or tissue culture) importation to vineyard planting. It requires process controls at each production stage. The certification program allows approved nurseries to produce a product that is ‘AVIA Certified’ and reassures growers that propagation material is traceable to its origin and is true to type. More information on the National Vine Accreditation Scheme can be found at: www.avia.org.au
The objectives of the Grapevine Propagation Material Standard released in 2013 are to provide the purchaser of grapevine propagation material with assurance as to the origin, varietal identity, physical specifications and health status of grapevine propagation material. It provides for a documented and clear trail back to the original source vine in Australia together with evidence of the method used to identify the original vine(s). The standard also provides evidence of whether material has been tested for vine health, what method of testing has been used, and the details of the pathogens detected in the material. More information can be found at: www.standards.org.au
Every grape grower in the viticulture industry should follow industry endorsed best management practices. The following reports outline best management practices relating to pest and disease control, pasture management, grape growing, harvesting, processing and more.