A two-year $580,000 research project to help protect the wine industry from the serious grapevine pest phylloxera was announced in Heathcote last week.BARBARA SUNGAILA July 18, 2014 3:01am
Attending were (from left)Member for Rodney Paul Weller, winemaker Ian Rathjen, Nationals candidate for Euroa Steph Ryan, Heathcote Winegrowers Association president Phil Meehan, HWA executive officer Chris Earl, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh and winemaker Gary Harbor at Heathcote Winery.
A two-year $580,000 research project with the Australian Grape and Wine Authority to help protect the wine industry from the serious grapevine pest phylloxera was announced in Heathcote on Thursday.
Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said the Victorian Government was committed to co-investing with industry on targeted research and development that boosted the productivity and profitability of food and fibre growers.
‘‘This new partnership project with AGWA aims to boost the wine grape industry’s defences against phylloxera by identifying the best disinfestation techniques and developing new management options to prevent its spread into areas of Victoria that remain phylloxera free.’’
Heathcote Winegrowers Association president Phil Meehan said the Heathcote wine region was phylloxera-free and research to boost defences against the pest in other parts of Victoria would strengthen the industry.
‘‘Our region’s vineyards are always alert and proactive in safeguarding our phylloxera-free status,’’ Mr Meehan said.
He said the partnership between industry and government followed calls from Wine Victoria on behalf of the regions to invest in research and development activities that would help address the biosecurity issue.
Australian Grape and Wine Authority acting chief executive Andreas Clark said the AGWA was committed to developing new tools and approaches to control vineyard pests and this project would help to strengthen quarantine processes to contain phylloxera infestations.
Phylloxera is a tiny pest insect, native to North America that attacks the roots of grapevines and eventually kills plants by preventing the uptake of water and nutrients.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries at Rutherglen will complete research, led by principal research scientist and phylloxera authority Kevin Powell.
For information, visit www.depi.vic.gov.au/phylloxera
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