As the great English poet John Donne once wrote, no man is an island, though perhaps the same cannot be said for seed potato growers on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, who are reaping the benefits of isolation for both their businesses and the Australian potato industry as a whole. 

Seed potato is grown for the purpose of cultivation by commercial potato growers, rather than being sold at the marketplace. Accordingly, the pest and disease free status of seed potato is an industry necessity.

“Kangaroo Island is a declared quarantine area, free from a number of common potato pests and diseases found on the mainland. This means that Kangaroo Island seed potato growers can export disease-free seed to mainland producers with the guarantee that the resulting potato crop will be of a high quality,” said AUSVEG spokesperson, Dean Schrieke. 

AUSVEG is the leading horticulture body representing 2,000 Australian potato growers.
The advantages of Kangaroo Island’s seed potato industry biosecurity are highlighted in the inaugural seed potato Special Edition of AUSVEG publication, Potatoes Australia, to be distributed this week.
The movement of soil and plant material is primarily to blame for the spread of potato diseases in Australia. Kangaroo Island seed potato growers are acutely aware of this and have adopted practices to further reduce biosecurity risk. 
“Stringent on-farm hygiene protocols work in unison with Kangaroo Island’s natural advantages to supplement the island’s quarantine protocols and ensure the island maintains indemnity from a number of common potato pests and diseases,” said Mr Schrieke.
The practice of implementing good on-farm hygiene is critical to minimise and limit the impact of pest and disease issues on production all throughout Australia. On-farm hygiene can be managed with a set of simple yet effective controls, which all potato growers can adopt.

“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 is key to reducing biosecurity risk.”

Kangaroo Island seed potato grower, Damien Trethewey, features in the magazine, discussing the advantages of farming on Kangaroo Island. 
This communication has been funded by HAL using the National Potato Levy and matched funds from the Australian Government. 
MEDIA CONTACT: Dean Schrieke, Spokesperson, AUSVEG 
Phone: (03) 9882 0277 | Mobile: 0405 535 671 | E-mail: