News

Detection of Russian wheat aphid

Wednesday 1 June 2016

The State Government is responding to detections of the exotic pest - Russian wheat aphid - which has been found in cereal crops in the State's mid-north.


The initial detection was on a site south of Tarlee and the pest has been since found on other properties within 20km of the original site.

PIRSA staff are responding and assisting the affected growers by taking immediate action for control as well as conducting a trace back operation to determine the source of the detection.

There is also a surveillance operation which will focus on crops which were sown early and are already out of the ground and susceptible to attack. Regenerating and volunteer (self-seeding) cereal crops are also being targeted.

This surveillance operation will also broaden to other grain growing areas within the state as part of a broader national program to determine whether or not the aphid is only present in the Mid North region.

Landholders and agronomists are asked to keep a watchful eye on emerging cereal crops and report any signs of damage or strange pest activity.

Damage symptoms include a noticeable loss of green colouration across the crop, and on closer inspection, stunted plant growth and loss of vigour.

If you observe anything unusual, please phone the Exotic Pest Plant Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Background

Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia) is found in all major cereal production regions around the world. It has not been previously recorded in Australia.

It is a major pest of cereal crops which injects toxins into the plant during feeding, retarding growth and killing the plant. Affected plants will show whitish, yellow and red leaf markings and rolling leaves.

Russian wheat aphid is approximately 2mm long, pale yellowish green with a fine waxy coating.

More information is available at www.pir.sa.gov.au/russianwheataphid

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Leon Bignell

South Australia's grains industry is very important to our economy with an estimated 7.2 million tonnes harvested during the 2015-16 season at a total farm gate value of $1.6 billion.

The State Government is putting all possible resources into the detection and wants farmers to be aware of the new threat this aphid could pose for their crops. We are also working closely with Federal Government agencies.

Australia and South Australia have a robust biosecurity system with strict measures in place to reduce the risk that pests are introduced to Australia.

However it is also vitally important if you notice any unusual activity at all with your crops to immediately report it to the Exotic Pest Plant Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Quotes attributable to Executive Director, Biosecurity SA Will Zacharin

To help us determine the full extent on the spread of Russian wheat aphid we need all cereal farmers and agronomists to keep a close and watchful eye on their emerging crops over the coming weeks.

If you observe anything unusual or any signs of damage, particularly if the plants show whitish, yellow or red/purple leaf markings and rolling leaves, along with any strange pest activity, please immediately phone our Exotic Pest Plant Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Once the nature of the crop damage has been determined, PIRSA in liaison with industry and local agronomists will then provide advice on the best treatment options.

When inspecting your crops remember that on-farm biosecurity measures are also essential to help protect your crops from pest and disease. So please do the right thing and inspect, report and decontaminate.

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