Vinehealth Australia
eNewsletter: May 2020
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Hello from Inca Lee

Following significant work over the past two years, we are pleased to confirm new phylloxera conditions in South Australia’s Plant Quarantine Standard (PQS) are finalised. These changes to the PQS aim to prevent the vine killing insect from entering the State. 

As part of the review, we undertook an extensive industry consultation process. A Consultation Pack was distributed to more than 3,300 stakeholders seeking feedback. We discussed proposed changes with more than 150 stakeholders across 39 meetings, covering 10 viticultural regions or zones in South Australia.

Following successful consultation, Vinehealth Australia and PIRSA-Biosecurity SA jointly recommended a range of changes relating to the management of grape phylloxera to Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Hon. Tim Whetstone. 

These changes were accepted and incorporated into a consolidated Condition 7 in the South Australian PQS Version 17, which will apply from 21 July 2020. We've created a summary of the PQS changes which you can find here.

We continue to work on important strategic projects for the state. One new project we are pleased to announce, which aims to deliver a footwear solution for vineyard biosecurity, is in collaboration with UniSA. You can read more about that here

Finally, congratulations to Plant Health Australia, the national coordinator of the government-industry partnership for plant biosecurity, on its 20th anniversary this year. And welcome to new PHA CEO Sarah Corcoran. We look forward to working with you on projects of mutual benefit.  

All the best for the start of the pruning season,
Inca Lee
CEO, Vinehealth Australia

In this issue

Last issue highlights

Border strengthened
by PQS review

New phylloxera conditions in South Australia’s Plant Quarantine Standard (PQS) will help prevent the vine killing insect from entering the State.
Changes to the PQS have been approved by the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, the Hon. Tim Whetstone and will apply from 21 July 2020.
The review of the phylloxera-related conditions in SA’s PQS was led by Vinehealth Australia and undertaken using a risk-based approach to strengthen the rules under which items that can pick up and spread phylloxera may enter the State.

Read more

Footwear biosecurity solution coming

Vinehealth Australia is working with UniSA on a footwear solution to assist in minimising pest, disease and weed introduction and spread in Australian vineyards.
For many years, Vinehealth Australia has been advocating for the wearing of shoe covers as an alternative to footwear disinfestation for low risk situations. But significant searching has revealed that a fit-for-purpose, sturdy, affordable option does not exist.
Stephanie Small, a UniSA Postgraduate student in Industrial Design, will develop prototypes for a disposable footwear solution.

Read more

Fire recovery
maps created

Vinehealth Australia is part of a team helping Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island vineyard owners with bushfire recovery efforts, by creating digital vineyard maps to show the distribution of damage across blocks.
The work is part of the Vineyard Mapping and Assessment Project, which aims to help enable rapid recovery and return to production for impacted growers.

Read more

Recognising biosecurity supporters

We created a range of Wine Tourism Biosecurity Signs in 2017 to help wineries educate visitors about farm-gate hygiene. Since then, hundreds of signs have been purchased by companies around Australia.
To celebrate these early adopters, we’ve created a new page on our website called Biosecurity Supporters, which lists some of the companies who have purchased signs and the behavioural impact these signs have made.

Read more

Meet new PIRSA boss Michelle Edge

Michelle Edge has been appointed Chief Executive of Primary Industries and Regions SA and brings valuable experience in biosecurity to the role.
Before joining PIRSA, Michelle was CEO of the industry-government partnership organisation for Primary Industries New Zealand, Operational Solutions. In this role, Michelle led policy and programs in biosecurity, pest and disease management, wildlife management, animal health and livestock traceability.

Read more

New farm trespass
laws passed

New laws have passed in South Australia to significantly increase the penalties for people found trespassing on farming land, including vineyards and wineries.
“This new ‘aggravated farm trespass’ offence acknowledges that individuals trespassing on primary production land and interfering with the conduct of the business, not only put the safety of people at risk, but also increase the risk of possible biosecurity and food contamination,” said Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.

Read more

In the news

We’ve been sharing lots of information about phylloxera in Victoria’s Yarra Valley lately, following our Phylloxera Immersion Tour to the region in November 2019.
In the May 2020 issue of Australian and New Zealand Grapegrower and Winemaker Magazine, we share a story about the low levels of replanting of phylloxera infested vines in the Yarra Valley, which will likely see a drop in the volume of Yarra Valley wine produced in years to come.

Read more

New Plant Health
boss announced

Sarah Corcoran has been appointed as Plant Health Australia’s next Chief Executive Officer and will start in July.
Sarah has more than 20 years’ experience in biosecurity and leading responses to exotic pest and disease incursions. She is currently Executive Director, Biosecurity and Animal Welfare; Infrastructure and Major Projects with the Northern Territory Government and has been at the forefront in leading the response to the citrus canker outbreak.

Read more

Did you know?

Guarding against phylloxera

We found an interesting article titled “Guarding against phylloxera” in the Adelaide Register Newspaper from 19 May 1921. It has made us consider what the ideal strategic makeup of our propagation system should be, to ensure resilience for our State in the face of a phylloxera incursion and availability of grafted planting material. We are hoping to contribute to this discussion in a number of ways in the short to medium term.
“Guarding against phylloxera”
Adelaide Register Newspaper 19 May 1921 page 6.

In a discussion on resistant vine stocks at the Viticultural Congress on Wednesday Mr. W.G. Smith of Yalumba, said the South Australian Phylloxera Board had enough money to establish a phylloxera nursery and still have capital in hand. The Government should be asked to introduce a short Bill to enable the board to allocate certain portions of the fund for a nursery to be opened in another State. He felt sure Mr. Barwell’s cabinet would favourably consider the request.

Mr. B. W. Bagenal (from VIC) said they should get a nursery going – as soon as they could get an Act passed – in the western end of Victoria. They could get the best stocks from Rutherglen. If the scheme had been carried out 10 years ago they would not have from 3,000 – 10,000 acres (approximately 1,200 – 4,000 hectares) of resistant stocks in South Australia.

Mr. P. H. Knappstein (from SA) said once a nursery was started it would be run on commercial lines, and be self-supporting. Mr. Leo Buring (from NSW) supported the proposal to establish a quarantine ground as adjacent as possible to South Australia.

Mr. F. de Castella (from VIC) said he did not know what would have happened to the industry of Australia if this State had not kept the flag flying while others were replanting their vineyards. He begged them not to waste a penny of the funds now in hand in futile attempts to extinguish phylloxera. Extinction was a broken reed. They had spent more than ₤100,000 (over $8M in today’s currency) in compensation and it had been justified as effective as, if it had been thrown into the sea.

There was really no need to establish a nursery. They should plant mother vines of approved varieties, and the most economical way to do it would be to get somebody to grow them. Then the wood would be available. As soon as phylloxera came into this State – and God forbid that it should – look at the millions of cuttings they would want to replenish their vineyards. Let them devote their money to mother vine plantations. Once they had the wood available, they could do the rest in no time.

Biosecurity tips

  • #Didyouknow Tip #1: Despite common assumptions by the broader wine industry, the level of phylloxera tolerant or resistant rootstock plantings in the Maroondah Phylloxera Infested Zone has been estimated by locals at less than 20% to date. Click here to view a video about this.
  • #Didyouknow Tip #2: The financial impact of phylloxera in the Yarra Valley has been estimated at $1 billion. This is based on replanting the region to rootstock and accounting for losses due to production lag. Click here to view a video about this
  • #Didyouknow Tip #3: The true impact of phylloxera on the Yarra Valley’s wine production is still to be seen. Click here to view a video about this. Are you playing your role in keeping your region and vines safe?
  • #Didyouknow Tip #4: Buying high quality planting material of known origin and health status from a reputable grapevine nursery or vine improvement society is part of a good biosecurity strategy.
  • #Didyouknow Tip #5: Sheep can be a source of introduction and spread of pests, diseases and weeds into your vineyard. Click here to learn more about sheep and vine biosecurity risks.
  • #Didyouknow Tip #6: Remember the Coronavirus ad showing green sneeze particles over lift buttons, food and door handles, with the tagline, “If you could see Coronavirus, you’d see how easily it can be spread.” Consider the similarities to phylloxera and other plant pests and diseases.

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.

Copyright © Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia,
trading as Vinehealth Australia and governed by 
The Phylloxera and Grape Industry Act 1995