Importance of good hygiene practices highlighted by myrtle rust discovery
On Friday afternoon the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI) announced that a legal notice has been issued which makes it mandatory for nurseries, retailers, and plant transporters to comply with NZPPI Myrtle Rust Risk Management Protocols.
In short, the notice requires that hygiene, containment and management protocols are followed to increase the chances of early detection and lower the possibility of any further spread of myrtle rust.
Although myrtle rust doesn’t affect kiwifruit vines this is an important and timely reminder for all growers that good hygiene practices should always be followed to help manage biosecurity threats.
Unwanted pests and diseases are easily spread through infected plant material and unclean machinery, tools, people and vehicles. Good hygiene practices are essential to help prevent their spread between vines, orchards and regions.
KVH hygiene recommendations are available in detail online. They key points are:
· Check and clean tools, vehicles, machinery, people and clothing.
· Ensure everything that comes on to your property is free from soil and plant material.
· Sanitise highest risk items and wash down dirty areas.
· Share information about biosecurity measures with your staff and contractors.
Myrtle rust could affect any native or exotic myrtle plants on your property – like feijoa or guava plants for example. Before harvest check these plants for any symptoms of the disease. You can read more about myrtle rust on the KVH website or visit the NZPPI website to view a complete list of all native and exotic myrtle plants in New Zealand.
If you see any of symptoms of myrtle rust or anything else unusual, call the MPI exotic pests and diseases hotline on 0800 80 99 66. Take a photo but don't attempt to touch or collect samples of myrtle rust as this may increase spread of the disease.