Vinehealth Australia
eNewsletter: January 2017
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Hello from Inca Pearce

Happy new year! I hope you all had a wonderful festive season with your families and friends.
Vintage is rapidly approaching and now is the time to be looking at your biosecurity practices to see if you can improve what you’re doing. Vintage is a key risk time for pest and disease spread, due to the high movement of machinery, equipment and workers between regions and states. We’ve put together a vintage biosecurity checklist which you can access here.
I’d like to introduce Cindie Smart, our new Communications Advisor. In this issue, Cindie chats to harvest contractor Ben Thomson, who is going beyond regulations with his biosecurity practices to ensure he isn’t responsible for the spread of any pests and diseases. Read the article here. This is the first of a series of case studies where we look at best practice biosecurity management. Would you like to be featured in a case study? Email your details to Cindie at
We hope you enjoy this issue and, as always, we welcome your feedback. Email
Inca Pearce
CEO Vinehealth Australia

Biosecurity ‘rules’ tool on the way

Vinehealth Australia has initiated the building of an online ‘winegrape biosecurity legislation’ tool, which will help users by outlining the legal requirements associated with the movement of grape-related phylloxera vectors between states and between phylloxera management zones within states.

Read more

DNA testing for early and accurate detection

Vinehealth Australia is the lead agency in a collaborative phylloxera research project to develop an advanced early detection and surveillance system using DNA extracted from soil samples. Once endorsed, the DNA method will form part of an integrated approach for the detection and surveillance of phylloxera.

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Going the extra mile

Meet Ben Thomson, Managing Director of Stressless Harvesting, a contract harvesting business based in Great Western. Ben is committed to best practice biosecurity management, and goes beyond current regulations to ensure his machines are free of pests and diseases. “Because I’m moving between regions, the last thing I want is to be that person who is responsible for the spread of a pest or disease, particularly phylloxera,” Ben says.

Read more

Fruit Fly pest review

Fruit flies are categorised as both exotic and endemic biosecurity threats to Australia and are one of the world’s most destructive horticultural pests. Exotic fruit flies were ranked as the number three plant pest in 2016, and could reduce the capacity to trade in horticultural markets with an average annual value of $4.8 billion

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Meet the Phylloxera Guru: Kevin Powell

Vinehealth Australia wishes to acknowledge the 18 years of work to date that Dr Kevin Powell, Australia’s authority on grape phylloxera, has contributed to the grape and wine industry.
Kevin is a Principal Research Scientist – Invertebrate Sciences, for Agriculture Victoria based at Rutherglen.

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TDU signs offered

Vinehealth Australia has thrown its support behind vineyard owners whose properties border this year’s Tour Down Under cycling race, held between 14-22 January, offering free event-specific TDU farm-gate signs for the vineyard owners to display during the event. 
More than 30 individual growers responded, with approximately 50 signs being hung.

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Heat Shed upgraded

The Naracoorte Heat Shed was the first purpose-built facility in SA for sterilising vineyard machinery and equipment, to ensure freedom from phylloxera.
Vinehealth Australia has recently completed upgrades to the shed and computer system, and continues to advocate for the sterilisation of machinery and equipment through the use of the heat shed. 

Read more

Did you know?

From Vinehealth Australia’s Vineyard Register:
  • We have approximately 76,000 hectares under vine in South Australia.
  • There are 1540 hectares of vines between 50 and 100 years old.
  • There are 238 hectares that are more than 100 years old.
  • There are 20 hectares that are more than 150 years old.

What is biosecurity?

Biosecurity is a system to reduce the risk of entry, establishment and spread of pests, diseases and weeds that threaten the economy and environment. It’s also a system for managing and recovering from an incursion of a pest and disease by minimising its impact through eradication, containment and ongoing asset protection. Biosecurity is a shared responsibility – we need to work collaboratively.

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