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Tasmanian Biosecurity Advisories

Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment

Latest Advisories

Subscribing to get DPIPWE’s Biosecurity Advisories is the best way you can keep yourself up-to-date and fully informed about Tasmanian biosecurity issues. Our Advisories cover topics such as changes or proposed changes to Tasmania’s import regulations, animal health and welfare, plant health, forthcoming regulation reviews and opportunities for public comment, new or emerging pest/disease risks and a range of other matters related to Tasmania’s biosecurity.

Biosecurity Advisory 12/2017 - Workshop for vegetable growers (tomato potato psyllid and farm biosecurity)

As part of the VegNET program being delivered in Tasmania, a workshop is being held in Forth, Tasmania on 3 October 2017 to provide an update on tomato potato psyllid (TPP) and share information about on-farm biosecurity management and planning.

This event will include presentations from Andrew Bishop and Tania Jensen (Biosecurity Tasmania), Dr Jessica Lye (AUSVEG), and Raylea Rowbottom (Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture).

Growers interested in attending can contact VegNET Industry Development Officer Emma Egan on 0448 214 745 or at​au. You can also register online here: 

Categories: Cropping; Horticulture; Pasture;

Biosecurity Advisory 11/2017 – Nominations now open for Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year

If you know an Australian primary prodcuer who takes biosecurity seriously and goes the extra length to avoid diseases, pests and weeds coming on to their property, then nominate them for the 2018 Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year by 20 October 2017.

Animal Health Australia (AHA) and Plant Health Australia (PHA), through the Farm Biosecurity Program, have partnered with the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to deliver the inaugural category specifically for Australian producers as part of the annual Australian Biosecurity Awards.

Whether they work individually or with local, state or federal bodies, producers play a vital role in managing endemic diseases, pests and weeds and are crucial in detecting and containing exotic disease and pest threats. The Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year Award was established to recognise the contribution of producers who demonstrate outstanding, proactive on-farm biosecurity practices.  Australian primary producers, including individuals and organisations can be nominated. This comprises all forms of Australian farming, including large commercial operations, new and emerging niche industries and hobby-level farmers.

The 2018 Australian Biosecurity Awards will be presented at a gala dinner in Canberra in March 2018.

For information on the awards, including the nomination form, visit and for more information on the Farm Biosecurity Program’s six on-farm biosecurity essentials, visit

Categories: Cropping; Freshwater pests; Gene technology; Horticulture; Invasive Species; Livestock; Marine pests; Pasture; Natural environment; Policy and Legislation; Seeds; Timber imports; Wildlife;

Biosecurity Advisory 10/2017 – Caring for sheep in extreme weather

Biosecurity Tasmania urges owners of sheep to be vigilant for any signs in their flock of cold stress brought about by the recent icy conditions. Sheep recently shorn and new lambs could be suffering due to the weather conditions and all reasonable precautions should be taken to minimise the effects of cold stress.

Sheep have a natural insulation to extreme weather with their fleece. In cold, wet and windy conditions, sheep shiver, huddle together in the mob and seek shelter behind windbreaks to produce and conserve heat. However, these mechanisms have limits. If weather stress is excessive or prolonged, the sheep’s capacity to maintain a stable body temperature may be exceeded and cold stress will result. Hypothermia most commonly occurs in freshly shorn, light condition sheep during wet and windy conditions at any time of the year

Hypothermia literally means ‘temperature below normal’, occurs when too much b​ody heat is lost or too little body heat is produced, and the result is a drop in body temperature. If weather stress is excessive or prolonged, a sheep’s capacity to maintain a stable body temperature may be exceeded, and heat or cold stress will result.

High rainfall and high winds combined with temperatures below normal will cause mortalities in young animals, especially newly shorn sheep without shelter. The impact of the cold weather will depend on its duration, rainfall, wind speed and temperature—the ‘wind chill’ factor can double heat loss.

Sheep suffering from hypothermia often die as a result of their own behaviour and their attempts to cope. Sheep move in the direction of the wind until they are stopped by a barrier such as a fence, gully or creek. At this point they may pile on top of each other leading to suffocation or drowning. Sheep may be reluctant or unable to move when wet and cold.

Initially sheep will try to maintain their body temperature by:
  • shallow breathing in order to reduce the rate of respiration (that is, rapid respiration or panting causes heat loss)
  • shivering
  • seeking shelter
  • huddling together
If dealing with a small flock, consider applying garbage bags as coats for the sheep. Trials have shown that properly fitted plastic bags can decrease the loss of body heat even in severely hypothermic sheep.

More information on caring for your sheep during cold weather can be found on the DPIPWE/Biosecurity Tasmania website:​

Categories: Livestock; Policy and Legislation; Pasture; Natural environment;

Biosecurity Advisory 9/2017 – Grapevine pinot gris virus (GPGV) detected in mainland Australia states

Grapevine pinot gris virus (GPGV), a virus that affects grapevine, has been detected in South Australia and NSW. The virus has not been detected in Tasmania.

This virus occurs in many wine and table grape growing regions, including Europe (where it was first categorised in 2012), Asia and North America which suggests that the virus has been around, undiscovered, for a considerable time.

Symptoms occur in spring and include leaf mottling and deformation. Infected plants may show declined yields indicating that the virus can be a significant plant health concern in some varieties, although some infected plants may show no visible symptoms.  The virus has alternate hosts, such as the weed commonly known as Fat-hen, which is widely naturalised throughout large parts of Australia, including Tasmania.

Measures have been taken at the identified sites on mainland Australia to contain the virus, which spreads through movement and exchange of infected propagation material, and possibly by some species of mites.  Targeted surveillance in the affected states will take place in spring when conditions are favourable to assess the status of the virus.

Routine screening for this virus at Australian borders began in the spring of 2015. It is possible that the virus has been present in Australia for a while with the recent detections attributed to improvements in testing technologies, such as deep sequencing. There is now a diagnostic protocol for the virus. 

The Australian Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP), which is the national technical body for coordinating national responses to emergency plant pest incursions and assess the technical feasibility for their eradication, ​has met to discuss this incident nationally and will continue to meet as further surveillance and tracing information becomes available.  Biosecurity Tasmania is monitoring the situation very closely and is a participant on the national technical committee.

Until more is known about the situation, no states, including Tasmania, have implemented new import requirements.  Virus certification schemes are the best way to ensure propagation material is clean. Further information on GPGV will be provided as new details are obtained, and on completion of the targeted national surveillance program in spring 2017. 

What to do if you think you have found Grapevine pinot gris virus

Biosecurity Tasmania urges all grape producers to be vigilant for any signs of the virus and if they have any concerns they should call the emergency plant disease hotline on 1800 084 881.

More information about GPGV symptoms, sampling, testing and actions following a positive test can be found in the GPGV fact sheet, accessible at 

Categories: Horticulture; Cropping;

Biosecurity Advisory 8/2017 – free biosecurity planning workshop for cattle producers

The Livestock Biosecurity Network is hosting a free biosecurity planning workshop for cattle producers in conjunction with key partners and stakeholders.

The workshop provides hands-on training to producers about developing an on-farm biosecurity plan for their property.

Cattle Council of Australia and Sheepmeat Council of Australia have established the workshops to assist producers in the wake of two important changes which require producers to effectively manage biosecurity risks on-farm: The integration of biosecurity requirements into the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program for cattle, sheep and goats; and a new national farm-based approach to Johne’s disease management in cattle using the voluntary risk management tool Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (J-BAS).

When: Thursday 7 September 2017 - 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Where: Tailrace Centre, 1 Waterfront Drive, Riverside, Launceston, TAS 7250

Categories: Livestock;

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