BUNDABERG vegetable and melon growers have had their fears realised with government tests confirming the presence of four outbreaks of cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) in the region.
Biosecurity Queensland confirmed earlier today that a case had been found in a commercially-grown greenhouse cucumber crop in Bundaberg.
Queensland chief plant health manager, Mike Ashton, said Biosecurity Queensland had completed diagnostic testing of samples collected by its officers to confirm the presence of CGMMV at a Bundaberg business.
CGMMV has been confirmed at four sites in the Bundaberg district that are owned by the business.
All four properties have been declared ‘restricted places’ under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
“Our first priority is to continue working with the affected business to develop a management plan to eradicate the virus from the greenhouses,” Mr Ashton said.
“While we are working with the Bundaberg facility to minimise disruption to their business as much as possible, stringent biosecurity measures have been put in place to minimise the risk of spread to other properties.
“The business owners have been very cooperative, and I commend them on their prompt action and the high level of biosecurity they already had in place prior to this detection.”
Mr Ashton said Biosecurity Queensland is undertaking surveillance in Bundaberg and other production districts to confirm that CGMMV has not spread to other parts of the state.
Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) managing director, Bree Grima, said the organisation is working closely with Biosecurity Queensland, the Australian Melon Association and other industry partners to ensure growers and industry remain informed as the case is further investigated.
“Please know that as your regional representative organisation myself, directors and staff are working to assist the Industry in any way possible and I will be sharing further information tomorrow that may assist in reducing the virus spreading,” Ms Grima said.
“We ask growers to remain vigilant and increase their own on-farm biosecurity measures and for all Industry to be aware of the role they can play to ensure the impact of this virus is minimised.”
“Tracing investigations will also be conducted to try and identify the source of the infection. While we ultimately may not be able to confirm the source, this Bundaberg detection is not thought to be related to the previous case in melons in Charters Towers in 2015,” he said.
CGMMV was detected on a Charters Towers melon property two years ago however Biosecurity Queensland is finalising its surveillance activities on that property to prove the disease has been eradicated from there.
Mr Ashton said the Charters Towers case demonstrated it is possible for an infected business to continue to operate, and eventually be declared free of the disease, if the right biosecurity procedures are put in place.
Mr Ashton said growers should remain vigilant for CGMMV by regularly checking their crops for the virus and reporting any suspect cases to Biosecurity Queensland.
“CGMMV affects cucurbit species, such as cucumber, melons, watermelon, bitter-gourd, bottle gourd, zucchini, pumpkin and squash,” he said.
“CGMMV is transmitted mechanically by wounds made with cutting tools, farming equipment, or chewing insects such as beetles.
“The virus can also be passed to other plants by root grafting or any handling of the crop.
“Growers are reminded of the need to maintain good on-farm biosecurity practices to mitigate the risks from CGMMV and other biosecurity threats.”
Growers can utilise the CGMMV National Management plan developed in 2015.
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