No new chestnut blight observed

Agriculture Victoria biosecurity officers said there were no new infected trees found during autumn chestnut blight surveillance on 8188 chestnut trees across the Ovens Valley Restricted Area.

“The next round of chestnut blight surveillance is scheduled to begin in early September 2017 and will continue through to mid-October,” Agriculture Victoria chestnut blight response manager Stu Roberton said.

“Agriculture Victoria biosecurity officers will survey over 16,000 chestnut trees and other host trees, including oaks.

“This spring survey will be undertaken in targeted 1km zones around previous infected properties in Wandiligong, Smoko and Bright and in a 5km zone around the previously infected properties in Eurobin.”

Suspected chestnut blight should be reported to Agriculture Victoria: ph 136 186.

Recently the National Management Group, that governs the status and associated actions on Australia’s exotic pest eradication programs, approved the new Chestnut Blight Response Plan.

The plan permits the extension of the eradication program to August 2018.

Mr Roberton said the plan was updated to reflect changes required to the eradication program after the July 2016 detection in Eurobin.

“The plan outlines the final stages of surveillance and associated activities required to provide confidence the disease has been successfully eradicated from Australia.”

Mr Roberton said once this period passes, if no further detections are found, Victoria could apply for area freedom.

This will lift the restrictions currently limiting host material and equipment movements in the RA.

“Early detection is vital for eradication prospects and is a pivotal part of protecting Australia’s valuable chestnut industry,” Mr Roberton said.