The Russian Peach Aphid (Diuraphis noxia) has been found in Southern Australia. This is the first report in Australia of this high priority pest of the grains industry. The primary cereal hosts include cereals such as wheat, barley and oats. The initial detection of the pest was on a site just south of Tarlee and the pest has since been found on properties within 20km of the initial detection.

PIRSA staff are taking immediate action when it comes to controlling the outbreak and are conducting trace back operations to determine the source. Landholders and local agronomists are encouraged to keep a watchful eye on their crops and all outbreaks can be reported to the Exotic Pests Plant Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Background

The Russian peach aphid is found in all major cereal production regions around the world and only recently in Australia. The cereal pest injects toxins into the plant during feeding which retards the growth and eventually kills the plant. Infected plants will commonly show whitish, yellow and red leaf markings as well as rolled leaves. The aphid is a small lime-green colored aphid with an elongated body. The adults are 1.4-2.3mm in length with short antennae.

South Australia Russian aphid outbreak

 

Potential Impact

Analysis has indicated that there is a high risk of severe losses in many Australian wheat growing areas if the pest isn’t successfully contained. Since its appearance in Texas in 1986, the Russian peach aphid has become a major pest of wheat and barley costing the industry over $850 million in direct and indirect losses from 1987 to 1992.

Quotes from the executive director of bio security

To help us determine the full extent on the spread of Russian wheat aphid we need all cereal farmers and agronomists to keep a close and watchful eye on their emerging crops over the coming weeks.

If you observe anything unusual or any signs of damage, particularly if the plants show whitish, yellow or red/purple leaf markings and rolling leaves, along with any strange pest activity, please immediately phone our Exotic Pest Plant Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Once the nature of the crop damage has been determined, PIRSA in liaison with industry and local agronomists will then provide advice on the best treatment options.

When inspecting your crops remember that on-farm biosecurity measures are also essential to help protect your crops from pest and disease. So please do the right thing and inspect, report and decontaminate.

Quotes sourced from PIRSA 

South Australia Russian aphid outbreak

Image sourced from the Department of Agriculture and Food

What NSW can do

If the Russian peach aphid becomes established. it could have considerable impacts on yield (up to 80% in wheat and 100% in barley) along with a variety of other management issues such as unknown insecticide resistance status and varietal response to the aphid itself. We need agronomists, growers and agricultural professionals to specifically look for the symptoms of the Russian Peach aphid and report back on a weekly basis with the attached sheet below.
Russian wheat aphid surveillance reporting sheet

Email the reporting sheet to: biosecurity@dpi.nsw.gov.au

For some additional information regarding the surveillance of the pest click the links below.

NSW RWA Surveillance fact sheet

Exotic Pest Alert Russian Wheat Aphid Identification and Associated Damage

 

 

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