Cultivation/Production, New Zealand, Australia, Pests and Diseases

Tomato-potato psyllid: Tough times for Western Australian spud growers

Pest problem: Tomato potato psyllid is still a major issue for potato growers in Western Australia, a year on from the outbreak.West  Australian potato growers are still counting the cost of losing market access to the eastern states a year after the tomato-potato psyllid (TPP) outbreak near Perth. Peak bodies are concerned the restrictions were too harsh, as the associated candidatus liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) bacterium, which TPP can be a vector for, has still not been found. Potato Growers Association chief executive Simon Moltoni said it had been a “devastating” year for farmers, but he hoped new action plans would help regain market access and ­increase education about how to manage the pest that could limit production. The outbreak of TPP forced government and industry bodies to ramp up biosecurity systems, but growers felt they were treated as if CLso — which causes zebra chip disease, producing dark brown stripes in potato tubers and rendering them unusable — had also been detected. More

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