Grape growers slow to adopt ‘safety’ code

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LESS than half of the grape growers on the Mornington Peninsula have registered with Agriculture Victoria to be notified of threats to their crops.

The department and the Mornington Peninsula Vignerons Association (MPVA) say registering for a property identification code (PIC) will enable growers to “get the jump on pest and disease threats in their region with faster access to biosecurity information”.

Growers with 0.5 hectares or more grapes must register with the PIC program.

“PICs are the best option for receiving fast and accurate biosecurity information; however, less than 45 per cent of peninsula grape growers have registered for one,” MPVA technical chairman Tyson Lewis said.

He said by registering for a PIC, Agriculture Victoria “is able to quickly alert local growers about a plant pest infestation or disease outbreak that may hit hard on the hip pockets of their business”.

“It is a grower’s responsibility to maintain or improve biosecurity practices on their property, to ensure their business is not left exposed to the damaging effects of a plant pest or disease outbreak,” he said.

“Registering for a PIC takes no more than a few minutes, and then growers will have an effective way to respond to a potential grape phylloxera or any other infestation in the region. The MPVA is urging all vineyard owners to register online with Agriculture Victoria for a plant PIC.

“Grapevine growers also need to remember that the application for a PIC is a legal obligation for your industry so I urge all vineyard owners who grow 0.5 hectares or more of grapes to do their bit and register with Agriculture Victoria.”

To apply for a PIC go to mpva.com.au or agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/horticulture/property-identification-codes

First published in the Western Port News – 3 October 2017

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