A project to improve plant pest management through cross industry deployment of smart sensors, diagnostics and forecasting.

Project overview

The Rural Research and Development for Profit (RR&D4P) plant biosecurity research project commenced in November 2017. Project partners achieved $21 million for the cross-industry initiative, of which $6.8 million was dedicated to Horticulture Innovation Australia.

The iMapPESTS project is a collaboration of government, industry and science to a develop a mobile cross‐industry plant pest surveillance network, which will provide actionable information to primary producers and government on endemic, established, trade sensitive or exotic pests.

The project’s key audience is industries, growers and producers in the major cropping agricultural sectors of cotton, forest products, grain, horticulture, sugarcane, wine grape, and emerging plant crops, and includes agricultural service professionals in the plant industries supply chain, agronomists, researchers and biosecurity personnel.

The project will work towards an enhanced pest management, biosecurity and area freedom, where iMapPESTS aims to validate a proof-of-concept surveillance system that can rapidly monitor and report the presence of high-priority pests and diseases.

Click here to download the iMapPESTS program factsheet

Project Partners

Hort Innovation is the RR&D4P grant lead and program manager; in partnership with the Industry Research and Development Corporations of AgriFutures Australia, Cotton Research & Development Corporation (CRDC), Forest & Wood Products Australia Limited (FWPA), Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), Nursery & Garden Industry Australia Limited (NGIA), Sugar Research Australia Limited (SRA) and Wine Australia; in collaboration with Australian government departments and research groups of Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), AgriBio – Department of Economic Development Jobs Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), Department of Primary Industries & Regional Development, Western Australia (DPIRD), Plant Health Australia (PHA), South Australian Research & Development Institute (SARDI) and the international team at Plant & Food Research (PFR) [NZ], Burkard Scientific Limited [UK], and Rothamsted Research Limited [UK].

AUSVEG’s role

AUSVEG is undertaking three major work streams: information gathering, communication, and extension. In the first year of the project, AUSVEG will collect information on priority pests across plant industries, which will underpin the surveillance initiative. Throughout the life of the project, AUSVEG will also be tasked with communicating the project to relevant stakeholders. In the later stages of the project, AUSVEG will extend the research to industry through training in the use of the surveillance system.

Over a five-year period (2017-2022) as the iMapPESTS engagement and adoption partner, AUSVEG will establish a vast extension network to raise awareness, build support and promote adoption of the program’s outputs and outcomes across each industry within the Australian Agricultural supply chain. A key objective of building a national network capability of field crop production industries is to enable growers and producers in the major cropping agricultural sectors of cotton, forest products, grain, horticulture, sugarcane, wine grape, and emerging plant crops, to work together for the resilience of key regional growing areas.

The project’s communications and extension strategy is based on the nature and lifecycle of the project, with the view of keeping stakeholders and interested parties adequately informed of the objectives, involved in activities, updated on the outcomes and benefits of the project, to support the collaboration and connection of all stakeholders.

On-farm project survey – have your say

This survey welcomes crop growers, agronomists and industry representatives to share local and regional growing observations, with information specifically about which airborne pests and diseases affect field crops. The shared information will update the existing localised datasets of various crop pests and diseases. This survey is designed for all growers of any size farm, agronomists (including all industry and business group representatives that work directly with growers in the field production of cotton, forestry, grains, horticulture, sugarcane and wine grapes), together with the growers of new and emerging plant industry crops (AgriFutures).

Click here to have your say; we are waiting to hear about your airborne pest and disease observations and the impact to farming field crops all around Australia, as well as any comments you may have!

For further information, please call AUSVEG on 03 9882 0277, or contact:
Lisa Brassington (Engagement and Adoption Coordinator): lisa.brassington@ausveg.com.au
Nikita Chawla (Project Officer): nikita.chawla@ausveg.com.au