Cherry growers now have a best practice biosecurity guide to reduce the risk of new pests damaging their orchards with the release of the Orchard Biosecurity Manual for the Cherry Industry.
The manual, released by Plant Health Australia (PHA) and Cherry Growers Australia at the 2011 National Cherry Growers Conference in Adelaide, is written for producers, with plain and practical advice that can be applied on the farm, enhancing protection for their orchards and livelihoods.
The practical orchard advice in the manual is part of a package that supports implementation of the Industry Biosecurity Plan (IBP) for the Cherry Industry. The IBP has recently been reviewed with Version 2 being released in conjunction with the manual.
The IBP was developed by PHA and Cherry Growers Australia following a comprehensive assessment of pests from across the globe that could threaten cherry production, as well as an analysis of the best ways to avoid any of them becoming established in Australia.From this review, the orchard biosecurity manual provides information for six high priority pests of cherries, including Plum curculio, a damaging weevil pest of cherries in North America, and Spotted winged drosophila, a serious newly emerging pest of cherry orchards in the USA.
It includes pictures to aid identification so growers have the tools to assist them in recognising potential threats early. Any of these pests would have serious consequences should they enter and become established in Australia, severely reducing cherry yields and certainly increasing the complexity of crop production, according to PHA’s Executive Director and CEO, Greg Fraser. “That’s why we recommend regular pest surveillance. It gives us the chance to detect things early enough to stop them spreading through cherry growing areas.”
There are around 550 cherry growers across Australia, with orchards primarily in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, as well as some production in Queensland and Western Australia. The annual value of cherry production is over $100 million.
The cherry industry is represented at the national level by Cherry Growers Australia and CEO, Simon Boughey, says the IBP and manual are a significant step forward for the industry.”We are proud to have done this preemptive biosecurity planning to put us one step ahead. I urge all growers to do what they can to protect their own orchards and the industry from biosecurity threats,” said Mr Boughey.
“Workers, visitors, vehicles, equipment and new planting material can spread pests, so it’s important to keep everything clean. Everyone needs to abide by the laws and regulations that were set up to protect the cherry industry and the region and it’s vital to report anything unusual to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline.” The toll free number is 1800 084 881 nationally.
The Orchard Biosecurity Manual for the Cherry Industry was developed by PHA in close collaboration with Cherry Growers Australia and has been released as both a booklet and a CD.