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Completed project

Plant health biosecurity, risk management and capacity building for the nursery industry (NY11001)

Key research provider: The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Publication date: Monday, July 13, 2015

What was it all about?

Pests and diseases, both endemic and exotic, represent a major threat to the health, productivity and profitability of Australian nursery production businesses. The nursery industry is particularly vulnerable due to the great diversity of plant species involved (>10,000 cultivars), and the multitude of pathogens and pests associated with these hosts. Biosecurity is also a major concern for the industry, and for the industries they support, due to the extensive domestic and international movement of nursery stock through commercial trade.

This project, which ran from 2012 to 2015, aimed to provide technical support to production nursery businesses and to build industry capacity in four key areas: diagnostics, training, information and biosecurity support.


Pest and disease diagnostics were conducted for the nursery industry by Grow Help Australia, a national diagnostic service operating out of Queensland. All Australian nursery businesses were offered discounted diagnostic services for the duration of the project, and some free services were provided to businesses accredited under the Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme (NIASA). Plant virus indexing services were also provided.


A series of training workshops on the recognition of key pest and pathogen groups affecting production nurseries, as well as integrated pest management strategies, were conducted in each state and territory. A total of 31 workshops were delivered over the life of the project, with 853 participants in total. Post-workshop feedback indicated a high level of participant satisfaction.


The project also produced a comprehensive portfolio of resource materials including:

  • A large number of fact sheets on common nursery pests and pathogens, as well as key biosecurity threats (see the ‘act now’ section below to access)

  • Four nursery papers on pest and disease management in production nurseries

  • Detailed pest management plans for four key pest and disease groups

  • The addition of 50 pest and disease descriptions and hundreds of high-quality images to the nursery industry’s Pest ID tool, which nursery producers can use to identify and manage pests and diseases.

Biosecurity support

The project team provided technical support to industry in relation to 18 detections of Emergency Plant Pests over the life of the project. They also developed four pest specific contingency plans for Huanglongbing and its vectors, fire blight, giant African snail and Dutch elm disease. These plans provide information on pest biology and available control measures to inform the development of a response plan should these exotic pests ever make it to Australia.

The team also identified 24 insecticides and fungicides that would be beneficial to the nursery industry, for suggested inclusion in the nursery industry’s Minor Use Program.

The resources produced by the project team, combined with the training and diagnostics undertaken over the course of the project, improved the ability of nursery producers to make more informed decisions regarding pest and disease identification, prevention and management.


Access the project’s pest and disease fact sheets…

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Related levy funds


Funding statement:
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2015. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).