Combatting biosecurity threats with science

  • Combatting biosecurity threats with science image

The recent two-day Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI) Symposium held in Adelaide, attracted 150 pest and disease experts from around the country and overseas, keen to share new information on the fast-travelling fall armyworm, among a host of other issues.

The symposium showcased the latest research on combatting threats to Australian plants with scientific experts, growers and others sharing valuable information at the bi-annual event.

Presentations focused on all pests and diseases, with local researchers sharing new findings and breakthroughs, and overseas counterparts imparting valuable lessons learnt.

The program included three keynote presentations. Ben Harris, Viticulture Manager, Australia & New Zealand Treasury Estate, Wynns Coonawarra, presented ‘Biosecurity insights from the vineyard’. Joel Willis, Principal Director – Detection Capability and Emerging Technology, Biosecurity Operations Division, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE), focused on ‘Advances in technology for biosecurity risk detection’. Dr Beth Woods delivered the dinner address on ‘Partnerships for impact’.

Stuart Kearns, National Manager, Preparedness and RD&E at PHA, presented ‘Fall armyworm continuity plan (grains) and contingency plans.
Francisco (Paco) Tovar, National Forest Biosecurity Coordinator at PHA, delivered a presentation on ‘Forest surveillance – connecting different surveillance types’.

Dr Mila Bristow, General Manager, Partnerships and Innovation at PHA, and Dr Geoff Pegg, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, presented ‘Building capability in northern Australia: supporting indigenous forest communities’.

Sarah Corcoran, CEO at PHA, chaired a session on ‘Biosecurity and industry resilience’, and Dr Sharyn Taylor, PHA’s National Manager, Surveillance, moderated question sessions on day 1.

PBRI program director Dr Jo Luck said pests and diseases put Australia’s more than $29 billion of plant and broadacre industry at risk.
“Industries working together through platforms such as the Plant Biosecurity Research Symposium is vital,” she said.
“This event provided attendees with insight into the latest innovations to help limit the destruction of our crops and support the longevity of Australian plant industries.”