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

Help at hand for citrus growers

December 3, 2013
Workers in citrus orchard

Image: Citrus Australia

Plant Health Australia (PHA) and Citrus Australia have recently appointed a dedicated biosecurity manager. Stuart Pettigrew, who has worked for over 20 years in the horticulture and agriculture sectors, will coordinate and drive the implementation of the citrus biosecurity program and provide a central contact point for biosecurity related issues.

Judith Damiani, CEO of Citrus Australia said that engaging a dedicated biosecurity manager signals how seriously the industry takes biosecurity.

“There are two priority exotic diseases that we don’t have and we don’t want: Citrus canker and Huanglongbing. The citrus biosecurity manager will assist us to keep them out of our orchards by raising awareness on-farm of steps producers can take to protect their business and by working to focus government and industry biosecurity efforts on high risk pathways for pests.”

PHA’s Biosecurity Preparedness and Implementation Manager, Brad Siebert, said that Mr Pettigrew is ideally qualified for the part-time role.

“Stuart has been involved with the citrus industry since 1991, and combines a strong background in pest management and biosecurity with ‘hands-on’ experience in horticulture.

“He managed a large premium vineyard for several years, as well as owning a small citrus property in the Riverland region. He previously has undertaken biosecurity projects in all major citrus regions of Australia, and also brings to this role experience from managing horticulture projects overseas,” Mr Siebert said.

Stuart is based in South Australia. He believes that biosecurity is critical for the long term competitiveness of not only the citrus industry, but all Australian agriculture.

The role is part of a three year biosecurity project, Protecting Australia’s Citrus Industry from Biosecurity Threats. The project aims to strengthen the industry’s biosecurity planning and preparedness, and facilitate ongoing awareness of invasive pests and diseases. It involves a number of components including a review of the industry biosecurity plan and the associated orchard biosecurity manual for the citrus industry, review of the contingency plan for Huanglongbing and vectors, development of awareness material and ongoing training for the industry.

The project is funded by Horticulture Australia Limited using the citrus industry R&D levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.