Horsham's Grains Innovation Park plays a vital role in protecting Victoria from exotic pests and diseases.
The CropSafe biosecurity project, based at the Grains Innovation Park, enables agronomists to act as "eyes in the field" to identify and report on what pests and diseases are affecting crops.
The 2016 Russian wheat aphid incursion demonstrated the success of the CropSafe network, with an agronomist within the network making the first detection.
Through CropSafe, Agriculture Victoria monitors seasonal disease issues and detects potential exotic incursions utilising the skills of agronomists and consultants who are regularly out in the field.
Agronomists are provided with information and training on identifying endemic and exotic pests and diseases and when they spot something they cannot identify, or that is unusual, they send in a sample to CropSafe for diagnosis.
This taps into the local knowledge of agronomists and growers and increases the probability of detecting an exotic pest or disease.
For example, the 2016 Russian wheat aphid incursion demonstrated the success of the CropSafe network, with an agronomist within the network making the first detection.
This detection prompted subsequent survey work which was carried out by agronomists who sent in samples for expert identification by Agriculture Victoria.
CropSafe agronomists provide crucial surveillance information while carrying out routine crop inspections.
In 2018 alone, the CropSafe network inspected two million hectares of crops in Victoria.
By workingwith industry, CropSafe is able to generate area of freedom claims for Victoria. This helps to provide the Victorian Grains industry with critical data needed to access and maintain important export markets.
For more information about CropSafe or to find out how to submit a suspect sample, log on to agriculture.vic.gov.au/cropsafe.
Luise Sigel, grains pathology services, Agriculture Victoria