Growers opt-in to TPP surveillance program

The Tasmanian surveillance program for tomato potato psyllid (TPP) has intensified, with the number of traps positioned around the State expected to double this season.

The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) has coordinated a surveillance program for TPP in potato crops since 2011, undertaken through TIA’s Seed Certification Program and an externally funded program.

Efforts have now ramped-up to include all host crops in the Solanaceae family, including potato, tomato, capsicum, eggplant and chilli.

This project is funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable, potato-fresh and potato-processing research and development levies and contributions from the Australian Government.

Raylea Rowbottom, Trapping Program Coordinator at TIA, is busy preparing for the 2017/18 season and is distributing hundreds of surveillance kits to growers in Tasmania and across eastern Australia.

“TPP poses a serious threat to a number of crops including potato, tomato, capsicum, eggplant and chilli. After the pest was discovered in Western Australia in February our surveillance program has intensified and the interest from industry stakeholders is growing,” Ms Rowbottom said.

“During the 2015/16 season we placed 254 traps in potato fields around Tasmania and no detections of TPP were recorded.

“In this coming season, we are hoping to double the number of traps positioned around Tasmania. It is important this is a coordinated effort to ensure we have a good spread across the State. We have had an outstanding response from industry.

“Early detection of TPP is absolutely vital to ensure that we can implement an effective containment and eradication strategy if the pest does arrive in Tasmania.”

Ms Rowbottom said industry were extremely supportive of this program and approximately 30 growers and agronomists attended a recent information session at TIA’s Forthside Vegetable Research Facility.

Sticky traps

Tasmanian growers participating in the surveillance program will receive four yellow sticky traps to place around their property. These are to be secured on star pickets or stakes so that the trap sits just above the crop canopy. They can also be placed in a greenhouse.

The traps remain in the field for seven to ten days before being collected and sent to TIA where they will be analysed by a team of entomologists. Growers can then receive another set of traps to be placed in the field.

Getting involved

Industry stakeholders are invited to participate in the surveillance program and kits, including sticky traps and reply-paid envelopes for returning the traps, are available by contacting TIA.

TIA and Biosecurity Tasmania are planning to host an information session in the coming weeks to discuss trapping co-ordination and biosecurity concerns.

For more information about becoming involved in the surveillance program or the upcoming information session, please contact Raylea Rowbottom on 0428 745 752 or raylea.rowbottom@utas.edu.au.

Published on: 01 Sep 2017 12:43pm