Blueberry rust detection

Biosecurity Tasmania and industry are responding to a detection of blueberry rust on a property in the state’s north.

Blueberry leaf rust 5476490
Blueberry leaf rust (Naohidemyces vacciniorum). Photo: Bruce Watt, Bugwood.org

A commercial grower notified Biosecurity Tasmania of the suspect plants earlier this week and testing by DPIPWE’s Plant Health Laboratories has confirmed the disease in six of 11 samples from the site.

The grower is working with Biosecurity Tasmania and has put measures in place to reduce the risk of further movement of the plant fungal disease.

A systematic survey of the property to identify where the disease is present is also being undertaken.

As part of the response a range of quarantine and hygiene measures have been identified and implemented with the grower to reduce the risk of further movement of the disease.

Biosecurity Tasmania will also be undertaking surveillance on properties outside of this site to determine if it is present on other properties with blueberry plants within a 20 kilometre radius.

Undertaking that surveillance and understanding the presence of blueberry rust is a critical first step to identify the next management actions required to respond to the disease.

At this stage the cause of the detection had not been identified but Biosecurity Tasmania will work with the grower to see if the source can be identified.

DPIPWE also has notified interstate plant health authorities to ensure they are aware of the presence of the disease in the state.

Anyone with blueberry plants is encouraged to remain vigilant for evidence of the disease and report any unusual signs on blueberry plants to Biosecurity Tasmania on 1800 084 881.

Further information about blueberry rust can be found on the DPIPWE website.

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