Cultivation/Production, Health/Nutrition/Food Safety, Pests and Diseases

Embattled Western Australian potato growers face new bio-security threat after Dickeya found

A brown tub of potatoes covered in dirt, with the gloved hand of a worker resting on the tub.An aggressive bacteria that attacks potatoes has been found in Australia for the first time. Dickeya dianthicola can cause significant production losses in crops by causing diseases such as soft-rot or blackleg. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development WA confirmed the bacteria’s presence in a seed potato crop north of Perth, which is now under quarantine. Another property in the south-west of the state is also suspected to have the bacteria. It is the second biosecurity blow for the WA potato industry in a matter of months, with the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) pest causing significant trade implications for the state. The detection of the new bacteria has not resulted in any further trade implications, with restrictions already in place for the movement of potatoes out of Western Australia and into other states and territories. News of the new biosecurity threat comes as Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced a $1.5 million recovery fund to explore market opportunities for growers affected by TPP trade restrictions. More

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