Industry

Wheat could face rust epidemic according to specialists in Texas - Farms.com

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By Diego Flammini, Farms.com

Specialists from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service say the wheat crop for 2015 could be at risk for an epidemic of infections.

Dr. Clark Neely, AgriLife Extension small grains and oilseed specialist from College Station, Texas, said he and others have been keeping an eye on wheat ranging from South Texas, to Oklahoma and into the San Angelo, Chillicothe Abilene.

“Right now, stripe rust appears to be more prevalent than leaf rust, and in some cases, it has started to move into the upper canopy,” Neely said in an article on AgriLife Today. The first case was reported January 29th in Northeast Texas. Neely said if stripe rust shows up before March, it could mean an epidemic is imminent.

Neely estimated that 70% of yield in areas with stripe rust could be lost if producers don’t take the proper precautions.

Stripe rust, which can also go by the name yellow rust, is caused by a fungus named Puccinia striiformis. It can transfer to crops if someone has it on their clothes but air currents seem to be the main way for stripe rust to travel.

On the road with mobile abattoirs

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IF it's complicated to get your livestock to an abattoir, how about have the abattoir come to you?

That’s the principle behind Mobile Slaughter Units (MSUs), a concept much discussed in Australia but actually in use in the United States.

Pilbara grazier Annabelle Coppin went to study MSUs in the United States in 2009, seeking a solution to the 2000 kilometres between her family’s Pilbara, Western Australia, cattle station and the nearest abattoir, at Gin Gin near Perth.

Ms Coppin travelled on a George Alexander Foundation scholarship and comprehensively wrote up her experiences in a International Specialised Skills Institute report.

Six years later, Ms Coppin still thinks MSUs could play a role in the Australian beef industry - and still thinks, as she thought in 2009, that red tape is the main hurdle to their development.

“If I wanted to develop a mobile slaughter unit, I’d have to employ someone for 12 months just to deal with the regulations,” she told Fairfax Media this week.

US (CA): Citrus pest found near Madera

Madera County and state agricultural officials are stepping up their insect trapping efforts after a single Asian citrus psyllid was found just southeast of the city of Madera.

The pest poses a serious threat to the citrus industry because of its potential to carry huanglongbing, a deadly plant disease.

Stevie McNeill, Madera County Agricultural Commissioner, said the insect was found in a homeowner s citrus tree in the Bonadelle Ranchos area. Additional traps are being place in the area to determine if there are any more insects are in the area. All host plants will be treated within 800 meters about half a mile of the psyllid find by the state. Residents within the treatment area will be notified in advance.

We re working to determine the full extent of this incident so that we can protect the state s vital citrus industry as well as backyard citrus trees, McNeill said. We want to emphasize citrus fruit is safe to eat and the disease is not harmful to human health.

Source: fresnobee.com

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Sugarcane aphid concerns in spite of late planting In spite of delayed sorghum planting,

While late season cold fronts and substantial rains have delayed grain sorghum from being planted in coastal and southern regions of Texas, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension crop specialists warn that overwintering sugarcane aphids (SCA) could be problematic for young sorghum plants shortly after emergence.

Robert Bowling, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center in Corpus Christi, says overwintering sugarcane aphids may move to the base of live plants during cold environmental conditions. Because of milder winter temperatures in most coastal areas and in southern regions of Texas, some of these aphids survived the winter and are poised to move back into sorghum fields in early spring.

Host plants for these aphids include any sorghum species—grain sorghum, forage sorghum, Sudangrass and haygrazer. The aphid needs a live host to overwinter and can be readily found on volunteer sorghum or Johnsongrass near sorghum fields.

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Biocontrol no magic bullet for wild dogs - Stock Journal

EFFECTIVE biocontrol of wild dogs can be ruled out as a current option for farmers, due to delivery obstacles and welfare concerns.

The National Wild Dog Action Plan (NWDAP) implementation steering committee sought advice from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in 2014, regarding available biological control agents that could be used in the fight against wild dogs.

But according to NWDAP implementation steering committee chair Duncan Fraser, the CSIRO advised that biocontrol is no magic bullet in tackling wild dog predation.

“The CSIRO feedback indicates that there are no magic solutions to managing wild dogs. This reinforces the need to organise strategic regional cross-tenure wild dog management efforts to ensure long-term wild dog control,” Mr Fraser said.

The science organisation also advised Mr Fraser that no broadscale wild dog biocontrol agents are currently in use.

According to Kurt Zuelke, director biosecurity flagship at the CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory, there are no biocontrol agents available, “or, to our knowledge, under development”.

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No slave labour in our fishmeal supply chain-Thailand's CPF - Reuters

BANGKOK, March 17 (Reuters) - Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL (CPF), Thailand's largest meat and animal feed producer, said it has imposed stricter measures against labour abuse and insists that all of the supply chain in its shrimp business was free from illegal labour.

The move is part of its attempt to assure clients that the food giant does not use fishmeal made by slave labour.

Last year, the United States downgraded Thailand to the lowest "Tier 3" status in the world's worst centers of human trafficking. The downgrade prompted some clients to suspend orders with CPF.

"The company wants to assure that our fishmeal supply chain is free from illegal labour," Kosit Lohawatanakul, senior executive vice president for CPF's overseas trading unit said in a statement.

The company, one of the world's leading integrated shrimp farmers, does not own a fishing vessel and is not fishmeal producer. The company buys fishmeal from 30 suppliers with 380 fishing boats, down from 50 suppliers in the previous years, the statement said.

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Ginger growers respond to talks of fusarium

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Recent news on wet weather in Queensland and the dangers of the fusarium fungus, pythium and erwinia soft rot bacteria may have left some worried for the future of the Australian ginger industry, however growers are still reporting some of the best crops they ve had and asking where did the news come from? according to the President of the Australian Ginger Industry Association, Anthony Rehbein. I ve had three growers say have you seen this article [the recent report on abc.net.au]? he tells Fresh Plaza. I disagree with the article as industry chairman, and I am going to be talking to the researchers involved.

As head of the peak industry body, Mr Rehbein speaks to growers across the country on a regular basis, and by and large the weather has been friendly according to him. If there is a problem it s not from wet weather, it s because of the stresses of ginger growing in previous years. I have to say that the weather is more of a benefit than a crime.

AU: Barriers to Asian trade costs billions

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Horticultural exporters say they're being locked out of billions of dollars of trade in Asia and the Pacific export markets.

Australia's domestic fruit and vegetable market is oversupplied, and there is a growing list of Asian countries that have stopped importing because of pests and diseases.

Michelle Christoe of the Australian Horticulture Exporters Association refers to technical barriers to trade, like quarantine inspections and difficulty accessing ports or storage, that cost all fresh produce between $5-$7 billion, including horticulture.

The Australian citrus growers appear to have defied the trend, accessing a Chinese market that only a few years ago took no oranges, to last year buying $30 million worth.

Australia's largest blueberry producer Costa said it was unclear how the Department of Agriculture established its priorities.

U.S. completes pest risk analysis for fresh Chilean cranberry imports

In a statement published on the U.S. Government’s Federal Register, APHIS said it had determined the application of one or more designated phytosanitary measures would be sufficient to mitigate the risks of introducing or disseminating plant pests or noxious weeds via the import of fresh cranberries from Chile.

The entity said the cranberries would have to be imported as commercial consignments only, with each consignment accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by Chilean authorities, and each consignment would be subject to inspection upon arrival at U.S. ports of entry.

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Man faces $74,500 fine after allegedly trying to hide banana plants

Updated March 17, 2015 20:27:39

A man has been charged with trying to hide plants due to be destroyed as part of measures to control banana freckle disease the Northern Territory's Primary Industry Minister says.

Willem Westra van Holthe said the man has been charged with an offence that may result in a $74,500 fine.

Banana plants across much of the Top End must be destroyed by the end of April as part of the NT Government's banana freckle eradication program.

Mr Westra van Holthe said the program was the largest response to a plant disease in Australia's history.

"We've had 37,000 properties across the Territory as a part of this...," he said.

He said while most property owners have complied with the program, some have not.

"The ones who don't want to cooperate for the sake of just a few banana plants in their backyard are going to cause, or have the potential to cause, enormous damage to the future of the banana industry we have here in the Northern Territory," he said.

But it is not only the Territory's banana growers who are under pressure from disease.

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