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Ongoing project

Resourcing, supporting and assessing biosecurity in nursery production (NY20000)

Key research provider: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

What's it all about?

This investment is enhancing the biosecurity preparedness of the Australian nursery industry by developing new pest and disease contingency plans and producing new and updated information for growers on on-farm biosecurity issues.

Key project activities include…

  • Production of content and imagery for the industry’s Pest Identification Tool (, to make diagnostic identifications more financially viable for production nurseries.
  • Delivery of biosecurity-focused webinars, as well as workshops in all states and territories. Look for details in Nursery & Garden Industry Australia channels as they become available.
  • Development and updating of grower resources including pest management plans, fact sheets and contingency plans.
  • Diagnostics, with samples submitted for analysis by pest and disease diagnostic service Grow Help Australia.


This investment builds on the work on previous levy-funded project Building the resilience and on-farm biosecurity capacity of the Australian production nursery industry (NY15002). This project produced a host of grower resources such as fact sheets, webinars and articles, which are available here.

The diagnostic service, Grow Help Australia, received 331 samples from 76 production nursery businesses over the past six months. 44 of these businesses had not submitted samples to Grow Help previously during NY20000 (during the last 2.5 years). Communications to promote this free service continue in each pest of the month, state Nursery and Garden communication channels, GIA e-news articles and other project outputs. 

A number of post plant case studies are being conducted to determine if high health nurseries produce plants with fewer pests, diseases and non-pathogenic disorders. We currently have three such trials being completed on landscape plants (started September 2022), avocados (started May 2023) and macadamias (started Dec 2022). One additional trial is currently being planned for planting by spring of 2023. These trials have been very large and, combined with the high workload from diagnostic samples submitted, produced delays in completing pest and disease factsheets. 

The diagnostic service, Grow Help Australia, received 197 samples from 55 production nursery businesses during this milestone period. A survey evaluating the Grow Help service was completed and provided valuable feedback; most respondents provided positive feedback showing the value of the testing and reports for growers. Communications to promote this free service continue in each pest of the month, state Nursery and Garden communication channels, GIA e-news articles and other project outputs.

The following activities have been conducted:

  • Four factsheets or pest management plans have been completed in 2022 and two webinars, all of which are online.
  • Four additional resources are in the process of being published and two will be completed in 2023. The field component of the capsicum post plant case study was completed in July.
  • Diagnostics on the capsicum trial was completed recently and data analysis is well underway. The landscape post plant case study has also been initiated at Redlands in late 2022.
  • A total of 800 plants were planted and a similar number of plants were destructively sampled to assess the pest and disease load at point of sale. It is expected that this trial will run until late 2023 or perhaps early 2024.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Nursery Fund