West Australia moves from Potato Psyllid Eradication to Control

Potato Psyllids

Potato Psyllids, a destructive plant pest found for the first time in Australia in February cannot be eradicated, according to the Department of Food and Agriculture of West Australia. So the industry will seek to manage it, rather than destroy it.

The Department of Food and Agriculture of West Australia said it would work on a plan to control the tomato potato psyllid, which attacks a range of vegetable crops including tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli and tamarillo.

Department biosecurity and regulation executive director Kevin Chennell said the focus would be on control options on farms, supply chain management and restoring access to interstate markets.

Kevin Chennell, executive director Department biosecurity and regulation:

“Over the past three months, the department has carried out extensive trapping and surveillance throughout Perth and our horticulture production regions to check for the pest and take measures to stop it spreading.”

“Commercial and backyard growers are urged to continue to adhere to the movement controls, check their crops and control the psyllid where it is found.”
The pest was initially found on a Perth property and has since been detected at more than 70 properties, prompting strict regulations on potato exports from West Australia.

However, the good news is that the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum, which causes the zebra chip disease in potatoes, has so far NOT been detected.

Restrictions on West Australian Produce

South Australian authorities recently reported they will further restrict the movement of Western Australian horticultural produce in an effort to prevent the spread of tomato potato psyllid.

The latest restrictions follow suit with New South Wales and Victorian restrictions to add a broad range of product line restrictions, in addition to those already in place for the tomato potato plant family.

Department of Agriculture and Food WA chief plant biosecurity officer Sonya Broughton said the move was not unexpected.

Sonya Broughton, chief plant biosecurity officer Department of Agriculture and Food WA:

"Basically what we are seeing is harmonisation across the different jurisdictions.”

“There were already new restrictions put in place by New South Wales and Victoria, so we were expecting South Australia and Queensland and all the other jurisdiction to follow suit."