Victoria is on target to eradicate chestnut blight

North East & Goulburn-Murray Farmer
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AGRICULTURE Victoria believes there remains a high likelihood chestnut blight will be considered eradicated within the next two years, provided no new detections are made.

A single diseased chestnut tree was detected in the Ovens Valley in July 2016 by Agriculture Victoria staff.

Agriculture Victoria biosecurity chestnut blight response manager Stuart Roberton said the tree was destroyed, along with adjacent trees in the grove consistent with chestnut blight eradication procedures.

The appearance of the latest outbreak on a property with very few host material movements has indicated that the latency (dormancy) period of chestnut blight may be longer than first thought.

“The 2016 surveillance program was completed in September, with 87 properties surveyed and a total of 16,543 trees inspected for symptoms,” Mr Roberton said.

“Encouragingly, there were no further blight detections despite the wet weather being highly favourable for a disease outbreak.

“Surveillance is now planned for a further two years to take into account the potential latency period of the disease.

“This extended latency period, which may be as long as six years, is a timely reminder for growers to thoroughly re-inspect all their chestnut trees for cankers, orange spores or other unexplainable diseased trunks or branches.”

More farming news and stories can be read in the January, 2017 print edition of North East & Goulburn-Murray Farmer or click here to access digital editions.