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Changed entry conditions for potatoes into Victoria

Potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) is a plant pest which affects tomato and potato production. Victoria introduced entry restrictions on potatoes for planting as of 1 March 2016.

Potatoes
There are changes to the movement of potatoes

Currently, Queensland and Western Australia are unable to declare freedom from PSTVd whereas New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are reported to be free of the disease.

PSTVd was first detected in Queensland in 2011 in tomato plants in a glasshouse facility at Yandina and was subsequently eradicated.  PSTVd was detected again on potato vine (Solanum laxum, syn. Solanum jasminoides) in two nurseries in southeast Queensland in 2012.

While only a small number of plants tested positive to PSTVd, large numbers of potentially infected plants were distributed throughout the state – indicating that the viroid could be present in other parts of Queensland, removing our ability to declare the state viroid-free.

PSTVd can affect a variety of vegetable crops, weeds and ornamental plants. However, the disease is only known to have serious effects on yield in tomato and potato crops.

The use of cutting or pruning tools, contaminated machinery or any form of physical contact between plants can result in disease transmission. PSTVd can also retain its infectious activity for long periods of time and can spread from one generation of potato crop to the next through infected tubers.

Symptoms may be mild in initial infections but become progressively worse in the following generations. Common symptoms of severe infections include colour changes in the foliage, smaller leaves and spindle like elongation. Sprouting also occurs at a slower rate than in unaffected potatoes.

In Queensland, PSTVd is included as a target pest for general surveillance each year in urban, peri-urban, agricultural production and remote areas. Over the last three years a total of 8,540 PSTVd host plants have been inspected with no PSTVd detected.

Biosecurity Queensland wants to remind growers that implementing and maintaining good biosecurity practices on their properties to prevent the introduction and spread of plant pests and diseases such as PSTVd, is critical.

Key changes

Effective 1 March 2016 entry of potatoes produced in Queensland or any other state or territory and marketed or sold for planting in Victoria is prohibited unless consignments are:

  1. sourced from a property where an officer responsible for agriculture has issued an area freedom certificate certifying that the state or territory or part of the state or territory is known to be free of PSTVd; or
  2. produced and certified under an approved Certified Seed Potato Scheme; or
  3. tested in a manner approved by the Victorian Chief Plant Health Manager.

All such consignments must be accompanied by a plant health certificate, plant health assurance certificate, permit or approved certified seed tag, certifying or declaring that the material has been treated in a manner described in the above points one or two.

Where requested, consignments must be presented for verification by an inspector or by a person accredited to do so by Victoria’s Plant Standards Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

For more information, contact Victoria’s Plant Standards by calling 03 8401 6900 or email [email protected]

For information on Victorian import requirements visit www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/importingplants

Biosecurity Queensland

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