Growers discuss new virus threat

FULL OF INFORMATION: DPI manager of plant biosecurity Dr Kathy Gott and world-renowned plant pathologist Dr Kenneth Eastwell at Friday’s cherry workshop. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

FULL OF INFORMATION: DPI manager of plant biosecurity Dr Kathy Gott and world-renowned plant pathologist Dr Kenneth Eastwell at Friday’s cherry workshop. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

CENTRAL west cherry growers will be much better prepared to deal with the possible outbreak of the newly-detected Little Cherry Virus 2 after a workshop yesterday.

Cherry growers heard from a world expert about the virus, which was confirmed on 12 Tasmanian properties earlier this year. 

Subsequent tracing and surveillance has also detected the virus in Victoria.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) manager of plant biosecurity Dr Kathy Gott said the DPI’s workshop delivered expert information about ongoing management options available for producers.

“NSW produces around 4000 tonnes of cherries every year, so arming our producers with all the knowledge they need to manage the threat of this virus is essential,” she said.

“Little Cherry Virus 2 is a virus that affects the overall health of a cherry tree and causes fruit that is smaller and lacking in flavour.

“These symptoms may be easily overlooked as water logging or general poor performance of the tree. As the virus is spread by the movement of propagation material such as root stock or cuttings, it is highly likely that the virus has been present in Australia for more than 35 years.”

Dr Gott said cherry growers in NSW should remain vigilant and report any signs of unusual pests or diseases in their trees to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

There are no food safety risks for consumers eating or handling cherries and the virus cannot be spread by the movement of cherries.

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