Victorian growers are urged to implement best practice biosecurity measures following outbreaks of tomato potato psyllid (TPP) in Western Australia.
Victoria’s chief plant health officer Gabrielle Vivian-Smith said there have been no confirmed reports of TPP in Victoria.
‘‘Victoria has imposed restrictions on the importation of any risk material from Western Australia as a precaution,’’ she said.
‘‘The restrictions extend to plant or plant product belonging to the family Convolvulaceae or the family Solanaceae.
‘‘These families include plants such as sweet potatoes, capsicums, tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, tamarillos, and chillies.’’
Dr Vivian-Smith said TPP was a small sap-sucking, winged insect, which resembled a tiny cicada (3mm long).
‘‘TPP causes yellowing of the leaves, wilting, misshapen fruit and reduced crop yield,’’ she said.
‘‘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 potato.
‘‘The bacterium can also cause stunting, stem death, yellowed leaves and yield losses in capsicums, chillies and tomatoes,’’ Dr Vivian-Smith said.
‘‘The bacterium does not pose a risk to human health and it has not been detected in Victoria.
‘‘Growers are advised to remain vigilant and to regularly check their crops.
‘‘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.
‘‘Growers and community members are reminded that it is an offence under the Plant Biosecurity Act 2010 not to report a suspect TPP outbreak to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline.’’
■To report an outbreak, phone 1800084881 or phone Agriculture Victoria on 136186 or email [email protected]
■For more information on restrictions on the movement of TPP host material into Victoria, visit: http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/horticulture/moving-plants-and-plant-products/industry-notices/new-restrictions-in-response-to-detection-of-tomato-potato-psyllid-in-western-australia