Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association
Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association

Latest levy funded research of interest to Tasmanian vegetable growers.

Project leader: Dr Calum Wilson, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)
Project Number: MT16016

Bactericera cockerilli, more commonly known as Tomato-potato psyllid or TPP is a major threat to the Australian Horticultural industry. TPP consumes the inside of the plant stem and can also transmit the bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter solanacerarum (CLSo). This bacterium causes Zebra chip disease and psyllid yellows.

TPP and CLSo were found in 2006 in New Zealand and again in 2014 on Norfolk Island. In early 2017, TPP (but NOT CLSo) was found in Western Australia.

Both of these pests have already had a detrimental impact on the solanaceous crop industries where discovered which results in millions of dollars lost annually. The threat of TPP and CLSo invading the other states is considerable and early detection is crucial to eradicate.

Since 2011, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) has operated a surveillance program to monitor for incursions of TPP in eastern Australian processing potato crops using yellow sticky traps. This document is a final report for the 2017-2018 project. As well as monitoring for TPP, numbers of native psyllids were recorded on traps. The project also involved training for industry people in the identification of TPP and CLSo symptoms. This was conducted in Eastern Australia with State counterparts. Extension materials were also produced and given to participants at TPP events.

Over the length of this project, approximately 3000 sticky traps were sent to participants in the eastern states. Almost 50 per cent of these traps were returned for screening and no TPP was detected during this trapping period. It was recommended that the TPP surveillance program continue to provide assurance of Area of Freedom status for industry stakeholders.

Through the early engagement with State Departments of Primary Industries the project enabled a greater coordination approach to state surveillance activities, which has assisted with issues around state biosecurity. With increased participation from growers of Solanaceae crops, the project has created a dataset that supports many states area freedom but also provides a baseline of data prior to an incursion of TPP for future research.

For more information on this project see full report here.