Exotic plant pests and diseases pose a significant threat to Victoria’s agriculture industry, especially the cropping sector.

With international travel reaching pre-COVID-19 levels and the increasing movement of plant materials and farm products throughout the state, the risk of incursions of plant pests and disease is high.

Agriculture Victoria Grain Services Program manager Jo Cameron said the CropSafe Surveillance Program delivers reassurance to the Victorian Grains Industry by increasing agronomists’ monitoring, reporting and identifying plant pests and diseases.

“The CropSafe network covers 85 per cent of grains agronomists within Victoria, with more than 1.7 million hectares, or 22,500 paddocks surveyed during 2022,” Ms Cameron said.

“This area of research and identification ensures 14 high-priority pests and diseases, including federal and state identified exotic pests, are reported.”

As outlined in the 2022 CropSafe report, Ms Cameron said 68 crop samples were submitted during 2022 from across Victoria, with the majority delivered from the Wimmera and Mallee regions.

“Samples were from a range of crop types including wheat, lentil, barley, faba bean, lupins, canola, vetch and chickpea,” she said.

“The report found that all Victorian lupin samples submitted to CropSafe during 2022 were negative for anthracnose, which is a disease of great concern to the state.”

Of the findings, endemic diseases accounted for 38 per cent of the samples submitted, with the remaining affected mainly by physiological or environmental conditions.