Potato growers attending today’s potato research and development (R&D) workshop in the Lockyer Valley in south east Queensland will hear about exotic and endemic biosecurity risks facing their businesses, and the practical steps they can take to protect themselves.

“There is a number of practices potato growers can use to dramatically reduce the threat of pests and diseases,” said AUSVEG Biosecurity and Special Projects Coordinator Dean Schrieke.

“Practical biosecurity safeguards include implementing self-enforced quarantine controls, washing and sterilising farm equipment, constantly monitoring fields for early warning signs and preventing the movement of soil and plant material on and off their property,” Mr Schrieke said.

AUSVEG is the leading horticulture body representing Australia’s 2,000 potato growers.

Attendees at the Lockyer Valley workshop will also learn about reporting mechanisms designed to increase the chance of successful eradication following an exotic plant pest or disease incursion.

“No plant pest has ever eradicated itself. Successful eradication programs require rapid identification and response. The Exotic Plant Pest Hotline is a service which forwards calls regarding potential exotic plant pests on to biosecurity specialists at the relevant state department, who will decide whether further action is required,” said Mr Schrieke.

Arranged by AUSVEG as part of the Potato Industry Extension Program, the workshop will be held today (May 27) from 5:30pm-8:00pm at the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre in Gatton.

Around 50 members of the local potato industry are expected to attend the event, including growers, processors, agronomists, researchers and supply chain representatives.

“This workshop is designed to deliver the outcomes of potato R&D, in addition to a range of other relevant information, directly to potato growers,” said Mr Schrieke.

The workshop will be catered and is free to attend for all potato levy payers and other industry stakeholders.

The AUSVEG Biosecurity Program is a joint initiative between Plant Health Australia and AUSVEG.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dean Schrieke, Spokesperson, AUSVEG Phone: (03) 9882 0277 | Mobile: 0405 535 671 | E-mail: dean.schrieke@ausveg.com.au