OFFICIALS say a citrus canker disease outbreak in the Northern Territory appears to have been managed effectively with only 20 further infected plants being detected.
Australian chief plant protection officer Dr Kim Ritman said the 20 additional plants had been seized and destroyed.
“Surveillance has been conducted on more than 560 premises in the Northern Territory and 380 in Western Australia, and there have been no detections outside of these jurisdictions,” Dr Ritman said.
“The detections remain restricted to the home and garden sector in the far north of Australia, well away from the main citrus production areas in the south.”
The current detection in NT is said to be markedly different to the 2004 Emerald outbreak in Queensland, as the source of that outbreak was in a commercial citrus area. It has also been confirmed as a different genetic strain of citrus canker, so it is not a re-emergence of past outbreaks, she said.
The detections remain restricted to the home and garden sector in the far north of Australia, well away from the main citrus production areas in the south.
Dr Ritman said thousands of tonnes of citrus fruit for international and interstate export had also been inspected, with no detections of citrus diseases.
“Routine surveillance for citrus pests undertaken by industry and government has also provided assurance that the disease is not present in commercial production areas,” Dr Ritman said.
The response plan and ongoing biosecurity work ensures government and industry are doing their part to protect Australia’s biosecurity, but support from the public and farmers is also highly important.
“Farmers need to ensure they have effective on-farm biosecurity measures in place to manage any potential risks on their properties and reduce the likelihood of pests and diseases getting into their orchards,” Dr Ritman said.
“I also encourage members of the public to keep an eye out for any suspect citrus canker symptoms. If you see something, immediately report it to your local biosecurity department on 1800 084 881.”
CLICK HERE for information on identifying and reporting suspected cases of citrus canker.