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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 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 agriculture.gov.au/aba and for more information on the Farm Biosecurity Program’s six on-farm biosecurity essentials, visit farmbiosecurity.com.au.

(15/9/2017)
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:​
http://dpipwe.tas.gov.au/biosecurity-tasmania/animal-biosecurity/animal-welfare/hobby-farmers-and-smallholders/caring-for-sheep-in-cold-weather


(8/9/2017)
Categories: Livestock; Policy and Legislation; Pasture; Natural environment;


Biosecurity Advisory 7/2017 - Public comment invited on proposal to import African Wild Dog into Tasmania

​The Wildlife Management Branch received species profile to facilitate risk assessments for the potential import into Tasmania of:
 
African wild dog (Lycaon pictus)
 
Public comments are invited by 21 August 2017
 
African wild dogs are medium-sized carnivores weighing approximately between 18-35 kg, (males generally weighing more than females) and an average height of 60-75 cm at the shoulder. Their length from the head to the base of the tail averages between 84-141 cm with a tail length of 30-40 cm (Leigh 2005; Barnes 2017). 

The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) is a unique species that originally occurred throughout sub-Saharan Africa with large home ranges. The African wild dog is considered to be of great conservation importance, as they are classified as the most endangered carnivore in southern Africa with populations continuing to decline.

The African wild dog is listed as ‘endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN Red List) since its evaluation in 2012, and is continuing to decline due to habitat loss through habitat fragmentation; predation and disease; human causes including snare trapping, persecution by farmers and car collision. African wild dogs are listed as a species ‘suitable for live import with an import permit’ issued under The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 with the condition of import being ‘Eligible non-commercial purposes only, excluding household pets'. 

Staff members from varying agencies of DPIPWE assessed the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) as being moderately dangerous to humans, having a low establishment risk with an extreme consequence of establishment. Consequently, the assessment concluded that the risk posed by importing African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) into Tasmania would be serious.
 


(8/8/2017)
Categories: Invasive Species; Wildlife; Natural environment;


Biosecurity Advisory 6/2017 - Veg Pest ID App

​Biosecurity Tasmania is pleased to share with its Biosecurity Advisory subscribers updates and news on access to and the use of improved on-farm biosecurity practices, tools and resources.

A recent example in the area of digital applications is the Veg Pest ID app that was funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia and Horticulture Australia Pty Ltd using the vegetable R&D levy and government contributions.

Veg Pest ID app provides a valuable tool to assist farms and agricultural professionals identify pests on Australian vegetable crops. Even tricky pests, diseases, and disorders can be found with a few taps or keyword searches. 

The app brings together a database of pictures and information on pests, diseases and disorders affecting Australian vegetable crops. It makes information available in the field, where it is needed.

The app features: 
  • Fast keyword searching to find the pest you’re looking for in an instant. 
  • HIGH QUALITY photos for each pest that can be viewed in fullscreen and zoomed in.
  • Multi-directional searching that allows you to start looking by either the crop the pest is affecting or the type of pest it is.
  • You can categorise pests and view them all together, or narrow down the search to an insect, disease or disorder on a specific crop.
  • Detailed information is given on each pest to help identify different lifestages, understand what conditions make damage more likely and take initial steps towards control. 
  • Completely usable offline.
  • App content updates automatically in the background when new content is available and WiFi is connected, so no need to download updates all the time!
The app is available for free download from either Apple or Android


(7/8/2017)
Categories: Cropping; Gene technology; Horticulture; Natural environment; Pasture; Seeds;


Biosecurity Advisory 5/2017 – Barley and grain growers encouraged to remain vigilant for signs of Ramularia leaf spot.

​Biosecurity Tasmania is encouraging barley and other grain growers to remain vigilant for signs of Ramularia leaf spot of barley.

Ramularia leaf spot of barley (Ramularia collo-cygni) hampers leaf development which can lead to loss of green leaf area in crops, and can result in yield loss.  Symptoms include small brown rectangular lesions with yellow margins within the leaf veins, visible from both sides of the leaf but most obvious on the exposed upper leaves after flowering.  Whilst it spreads via spores to nearby hosts, evidence suggests that long distance spread is limited to infected sown seed.

Growers should be on the lookout for barley plants showing these symptoms—but note these can be easily confused with net blotch that is common on other grasses in Australia.  The disease is suited to Tasmania’s cooler climate and it is most common in northern Britain.

Whilst barley is the main host of concern, Ramularia leaf spot has also been reported on oats and wheat so these are potential secondary hosts - although less likely to be impacted by the disease.

Ramularia leaf spot was detected on a small plot near Hagley earlier this year. The detection was immediately responded to with the crop removed and appropriately disposed of, with the site further treated to remove the fungus presence. The site remains under ongoing management and surveillance.

There have been no further detections of the disease at the site or other areas. Surveillance continues to be undertaken and grain growers are encouraged to remain vigilant for signs of Ramularia leaf spot.

Biosecurity Tasmania wishes to acknowledge the assistance of the affected research groups, crop managers and land owners in reporting this disease promptly and in cooperating with the response work thus far.

What to do if you think you have found Ramularia leaf spot of barley

Plant Diagnostic Services in Biosecurity Tasmania (DPIPWE) will test barley samples suspected of being infected with Ramularia leaf spot free of charge. 

Specimens or images can be submitted to a DPIPWE plant pathologist - call 1300 368 550 to be directed to a plant pathologist.  Samples of symptomatic barley leaves should be placed in sealed double plastic bags and sent to:

DPIPWE Plant Diagnostic Services
13 St John’s Avenue
New Town, TAS  7008

Further information, including images of Ramularia leaf spot of barley symptoms can be found on the Biosecurity Tasmania website.

(13/7/2017)
Categories: Cropping; Horticulture; Seeds; Policy and Legislation; Pasture; Wildlife; Natural environment; Timber imports; Marine pests; Livestock; Invasive Species; Gene technology; Freshwater pests;

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