More than 30 Riverland grape and wine producers were riveted throughout the Phylloxera outbreak simulation and biosecurity seminar at Renmark’s McCormick Centre, on Wednesday 4 June. The simulation was presented as a ‘role play’. Alan Nankivell of PGIBSA, Geoff Raven of Biosecurity SA, local grower identities and Salena Estates’ winemaker Mel Kargas all played their parts.
The event was good fun and very worthwhile according to CCW’s Nicole Pitman, one of the start performers in the role-play segment. Nicole played the part of a grower inside the quarantine zone needing to have her fruit processed outside the zone and having to unravel the mysteries of the regulations.
The event highlights the realisation that it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN a Phylloxera outbreak is declared. It will cost everyone something and for some, it could spell ruin. Recognising, reporting and acting to eliminate risk is the best way to remain clean and that’s a shared responsibility. The simulation revealed; who has authority, which areas will be quarantined, restrictions on fruit movement, who will be penalised, who will pay, and who will go to gaol when a real outbreak occurs.
Alan Nankivell said “Local dried fruit doyen, Tony Loffler added real value to the discussions based on his recent close encounter with fruit fly at Pyap”. He added “The event drove home the importance of remaining vigilant to ensure the Riverland and the whole of South Australia maintains its advantage as a Phylloxera free zone.
The Biosecurity Workshop after lunch was presented by Sandy Hathaway on behalf of Wine Grape Growers Australia and. Stephen Dibley, Program Manager from Plant Health Australia was also at the event. The presentation also highlighted the risks and cost factors involved with an incursion of an exotic pest or disease into winegrapes. Growers were told about some exotic pests and diseases such as Grapevine Blotch-Associated Virus and Black Rot, that are considered to be potentially even more threatening to the winegrape industry in Australia than Phylloxera.
Growers were given copies of the new Viticulture Biosecurity Manual, produced by Plant Health Australia with funding from GWRDC, which identifies all the major pest and disease threats and actions that growers can take to protect their vineyards. The presenters noted that the two most important things for growers to do, are to get to know the symptoms of the worst pests and diseases, and to actively monitor their vineyards. Free copies of the fully illustrated Biosecurity Manual were also distributed.
More information about Phylloxera can be found at www.phylloxera.com.au under the Biosecurity tab. More information on general biosecurity issues can be found at www.wgga.com.au or www.farmbiosecurity.com.au. Copies of the Viticulture Biosecurity Manual can be obtained from Riverland Wine phone 85846399 or email firstname.lastname@example.org