Cereal crop inspections and reporting is being requested in response to the detection of the exotic pest Russian Wheat Aphid (RWA) Diuraphis noxia in South Australia. This is the first report in Australia of this high priority notifiable pest of the grains industry. Cereal hosts include wheat, barley, triticale and oats.
Landholders and agronomists are asked to keep a watchful eye on emerging cereal crops and report any signs of damage or strange pest activity.
Damage symptoms include a noticeable loss of green colouration across the crop, and on closer inspection, stunted plant growth and loss of vigour.
If Russian wheat aphid becomes established, it could have considerable impacts on yield (up to 80% in wheat and 100% in barley) along with other management issues, including unknown insecticide resistance status and varietal response, with current varieties likely to be severely impacted.
In order to determine the extent of distribution of RWA and for further decisions to be made regarding the response, all grain growing states are coordinating surveillance through agronomists, researchers and growers.
What NSW needs to do …
Agronomists, growers and anyone working in cereal crops are asked to specifically look for Russian Wheat Aphid symptoms and report back on a weekly basis for at least the next month via the NSW RWA surveillance reporting sheet.
Negative observation reports are also required, to assist response decision making and as evidence that inspections have been made. If aphids or symptoms are found, they need to be immediately reported through the EPP Hotline (1800 084 881), which directly goes to Department of Primary Industries in Orange. Timely reporting of this pest if found in NSW will increase the chance of containment and minimise its spread.
Resources explaining hosts, associated symptoms and features of Russian Wheat Aphid to aid in surveillance can also be downloaded below.