Phylloxera surveys to boost Vic viticulture

THE Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will begin a second round of vineyard surveys in several areas of Victoria in December.
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DPI Senior Plant Standards Officer Greg King said the surveys were a major step towards protecting the viticulture industry against the insect pest grapevine phylloxera, which caused grapevines to sicken and ultimately die.

“The areas to be surveyed this year are Ballarat, Macedon Ranges, Sunbury, Broadford, Kilmore, Greater Geelong (including Colac) and a large northern area extending from Cobram to Horsham,” Mr King said.

“The objective is to add these areas to the existing Western Phylloxera Exclusion Zone (PEZ), which is a major production region for wine, table grapes, dried fruit and the propagation of grapevines.”

“If this year’s survey areas are found to be free of phylloxera, they will qualify to be part of the PEZ.”

Damien Sheehan, Chairman of the Victorian Viticulture Biosecurity Committee, said the viticulture industry welcomed the prospective benefits of the second round of surveys.

“If the survey areas can be included in the Western PEZ, it will enable growers in those areas to move grapevine material and produce into the current PEZs in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales with a reduced regulatory burden,” Mr Sheehan said.

“This will also strengthen the areas level of biosecurity by regulating the movement of grapevine material and produce into the PEZ from non-PEZ areas.

“All in all, expanding the PEZ will provide both economic benefits and a pest-free status for national and international markets.”

Industry representatives are working with DPI to identify and inform all growers whose vineyards are proposed for survey.

Mr King said to verify the survey areas were free of phylloxera, grapevines growing in public places must also be checked, and these can be difficult to locate.

“For this reason, we’re asking residents to notify DPI of the location of grapevines in public places in these areas,” he said.

“This includes grapevines growing in parks and gardens, street plantings, public buildings, community halls, bus stops, train stations, transport depots, caravan parks and motels.”

Residents who wish to report the location of public grapevines are asked to call DPI on 136

186 or email [email protected]论坛.

The surveys will be conducted as part of the Victorian Government’s Future Farming Strategy, which aims to protect and secure more than 4,000 jobs in the state’s $1.3 billion wine industry.

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