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Surveillance to get underway for tomato potato psyllid

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Biosecurity officers from Agriculture Victoria will begin surveillance and sampling for tomato potato psyllid (TPP) at 99 properties across Victoria commencing on 3 May 2017.

Chief Plant Health Officer Dr. Gabrielle Vivian-Smith said there have been no confirmed reports of TPP in Victoria.

The surveillance and sampling of field crops, glasshouses, and nurseries will provide assurance that Victoria remains free of TPP and will validate the State’s ‘area freedom’ certificate.

Agriculture Victoria continues to ensure adherence to Victorian entry requirements for produce coming into the State through surveillance and targeted compliance patrols of businesses trading in host fruit and vegetables or nursery stock at the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market and the Melbourne Wholesale Flower Market.

Dr. Vivian-Smith said the recent detections of TPP in Western Australia should serve as a sharp reminder to all growers of the importance of best practice biosecurity protocols.

“Victorian horticulturists are advised to implement best practice biosecurity measures and to regularly check their crops.”

Victoria has imposed restrictions on the importation of any risk material from Western Australia as a precautionary measure to prevent the pest from entering Victoria.

The restrictions extend to plant or plant products which TPP affects from the Solanaceae family, which includes capsicums, tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, tamarillos, and chillies. TPP can also affect plants from the Convolvulaceae family, which includes sweet potato.

TPP is a small sap-sucking, winged insect, which resembles a tiny cicada (3 mm long). TPP causes yellowing of the leaves, wilting, misshapen fruit, and reduced crop yield.

A noticeable sign is the presence of small insects jumping from the foliage when disturbed. Adult psyllids are sometimes called jumping plant lice as they readily jump and fly when disturbed.

TPP can also transmit a bacterium called CLso (Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum) that is associated with the zebra chip disease in potatoes. The bacterium is also a serious pest and can cause stunting, stem death, yellowed leaves, and yield losses in capsicums, chillies, and tomatoes.

The bacterium does not pose a risk to human health and has not been detected in Victoria.

Growers and community members are reminded that it is an offence under the Plant Biosecurity Act 2010 not to report a suspect TPP outbreak. This can be done by calling the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881, Agriculture Victoria on 136 186, or by emailing plant.protection@ecodev.vic.gov.au.

For more information on the movement of TPP host material into Victoria, please read the latest Industry Notice or contact a local Agriculture Victoria Plant Standards Officer by telephone on 136 186 or by emailing market.access@ecodev.vic.gov.au.

A Fact Sheet is also available to help growers identify TPP and the noticeable signs of infestation on plants and crops.

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