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

Production nurseries taking biosecurity seriously

May 31, 2013

Mansfields-tubestock-nurseryThe latest version of one of the most important plant industry biosecurity plans, the Industry Biosecurity Plan for the Nursery Industry, is now available.

The nursery industry supplies greenlife to a wide range of end users including the forestry sector, landscapers, fruit orchardists, cut flower and vegetable growers as well as the revegetation and land care sector.

Many on-farm pests and diseases can harbour in plant material that originates from production nurseries, so it’s important that the industry gets its biosecurity right.

Identifying high priority pests is central to the development of industry biosecurity plans. On top of the usual list of endemic pests of all the types of plants grown in nurseries, there are more than 140 exotic plant pests that pose a biosecurity threat in production nurseries. Each pest is assessed for overall risk, based on four criteria: potential to enter, establish and spread, and also for potential economic impact. The highest rated pests are identified and highlighted for future surveillance and on-site biosecurity and awareness activities.

While the industry identifies the risk, it’s the nursery and garden suppliers who need to put the biosecurity plan into action. The on-farm biosecurity program for production nurseries in Australia is called Biosecure HACCP. It is a set of protocols and procedures that enable a business to manage biosecurity risks. Businesses maintain strict internal quarantine procedures and record the actions taken at critical control points.

Accredited nurseries can provide certified material that is free of pests and diseases to producers, such as healthy cuttings, seedlings and rootstock .

The biosecurity plan was launched at the joint Nursery and Garden Industry of Victoria and International Plant Propagators Society Australia Conference in Melbourne recently by Greg Fraser, PHA Executive Director and CEO, who commended the industry for its dedication to biosecurity.

“It is essential for the Australian nursery and garden industry to minimise the risks posed by exotic pests and to respond effectively to any plant pest threats, to ensure its future viability and sustainability, as well as that of other plant industries,” Mr Fraser said.

Growers should purchase planting stock from reputable suppliers, preferably with Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia accreditation or BioSecure HACCP certification.

All growers can benefit from using the basics of Biosecure HACCP, including:

  • monitoring the quality of water, fertilisers and other inputs
  • crop monitoring for early signs of pests and diseases
  • keeping records of all inputs and activities to ensure traceability.

More information and tools to apply these basic biosecurity rules on-farm is available from the Crops section or the Nursery and Garden industry page.

For more information on the industry biosecurity plan contact Nursery and Garden Industry Australia.