Alan Parker looked out onto the farm business he had spent his entire life establishing. The West Australian seed potato grower will know in the next six weeks whether his lifelong career will continue.
Potato Psyllids, a destructive plant pest found for the first time in Australia in February cannot be eradicated, so the industry will seek to manage it, rather than destroy it, according to The Department of Food and Agriculture of West Australia.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Research plant pathology team intentionally infected potato plants with psyllids positive with the bacterium that causes zebra chip disease, in order to identify promising germplasm in the battle against the disease plaguing the US potato industry for the past 15 years.
Potato producers in south-west Western Australia say the detection of the potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli) is a "serious blow" to their industry. The detection of the psyllid may put national and international exports in jeopardy.