Agriculture Victoria has today confirmed the first detection of Russian wheat aphid in Victoria.

Scientists at Agriculture Victoria’s Crop Health Services have confirmed samples from Horsham, Kaniva, Yaapeet and Nhill contained Russian wheat aphid.

Chief Plant Health Officer Dr Vivian-Smith said an emergency permit (82792) has been issued which supports the use of pirimicarb and chlorpyrifos products for control of Russian wheat aphid in winter cereals.

“We have posted a copy of a permit on our website to authorise grain growers to use specific chemicals to control Russian wheat aphid,” Dr Vivian-Smith said.

“If farmers make the decision to spray they should adhere to all general chemical use practices.”

“This includes not exceeding label recommended rate or application frequency, observing OHS, and the usual precautions around weather, spray drift and withholding periods.”

Growers should consider economic thresholds, managing potential insecticide resistance, natural pest enemies and beneficial insects, as part of integrated pest management.

Dr Vivian-Smith said Russian wheat aphid has now been deemed non-eradicatable by the National Biosecurity Management Group, a group comprised of representatives from all Australian governments and major industry groups.

“Grain growers should be speaking to their agronomist for advice about how to manage the pest in their cereal crops.”

“At this stage the advice to growers and agronomists is to continue to monitor your crops for any signs of damage and if think you have the aphid to take a sample.

“We have information on our website and detailed instructions about how to take a sample, and where and how to send it.”

She also reminded growers of the importance of continuing to follow good biosecurity protocols.

“Hygiene is important to try and limit the spread of this aphid.”

“By practicing good biosecurity hygiene like washing down footwear, not allowing vehicles to enter crops, washing down sites and using disposable overalls we can try and limit its spread.”

For more information regarding Russian wheat aphid, what to look out for and on-farm hygiene practices, visit www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/russianaphid.