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Constable F.E.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Nancarrow N.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Kelly G.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | Rodoni B.C.,Australian Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries | And 3 more authors.
Acta Horticulturae

Certified high health strawberry runners are supplied to strawberry fruit growers across Australia through the Victorian and Queensland strawberry runner certification schemes that maintain high quality nucleus plants. Nucleus collections are tested annually for the major endemic strawberry viruses as well as bacterial and fungal diseases. For over 50 years these high health plants have contributed greatly to increased yields for Australian strawberry growers due to the exclusion of the major pathogens from industry. New strawberry cultivars are imported into Australia as tissue culture plants and these are grown and tested in post entry quarantine (PEQ) for the presence of exotic fungi, bacteria and viruses. Imported strawberry plants remain in PEQ for a minimum of 12 or 18 months if they originate from approved and non-approved sources, respectively. Validated molecular diagnostic protocols for endemic and exotic pathogens have been developed under Australian conditions and incorporated into an operational manual alongside traditional biological testing methods to support the biosecurity of the strawberry industry through post entry quarantine testing and certification programs. An on-farm biosecurity plan is being developed in collaboration with the strawberry industry to protect strawberry runner plants from exotic and endemic pests and diseases that are important to the biosecurity of the certification scheme. Source

Arioli T.,Seasol International | Arioli T.,Australian National University | Mattner S.W.,Victorian Strawberry Industry Certification Authority | Mattner S.W.,La Trobe University | Winberg P.C.,University of Wollongong
Journal of Applied Phycology

A rapidly growing world population has highlighted the need to significantly increase food production in the context of a world with accelerating soil and water shortages as well as climatic stressors. This situation has generated new interest in the application of liquid seaweed extracts because of their potent plant growth-enhancing properties through metabolic benefits, triggering disease response pathways and increasing stress tolerance. The basis for these benefits is complex and poorly understood. Liquid seaweed extracts are complex and have been demonstrated to possess novel mechanisms for increasing crop productivity. The benefits of seaweed extracts to crops have previously been reviewed in the context of the northern hemisphere, but not in the context of Australia, its crops and unique stressors. This review considers the application of seaweed extracts in Australian agriculture by (i) introducing the history of the Australian liquid seaweed extract industry and (ii) focusing on evidence of Australian research related to seaweed extract composition, plant growth properties during plant establishment, pathogenic disease and new approaches to phenotyping the biological efficacy of seaweed extracts. This type of research is essential for future Australian agriculture to develop effective strategies for the use of liquid seaweed extracts. © 2015, The Author(s). Source

Mattner S.W.,Victorian Strawberry Industry Certification Authority | Milinkovic M.,Victorian Strawberry Industry Certification Authority | Merriman P.R.,Victorian Strawberry Industry Certification Authority | Porter I.J.,La Trobe University
Acta Horticulturae

The Australian strawberry industry has trialled substitutes to methyl bromide (MB)/chloropicrin (Pic) mixtures for soil disinfestation since 1995. The research supported the registration of Pic and 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D)/Pic products in Australia, and these were rapidly adopted by the strawberry fruit industry in 2006. This transition reduced emissions of MB to the atmosphere by 120 t pa. Generally, the substitute fumigants have delivered similar fruit yields to MB/Pic, but the incidence of diseases caused by previously obscure pathogens, such as Fusarium spp. and Macrophomina phaseolina, has increased. In contrast, research in the strawberry runner industry shows that the registered substitute fumigants (viz. 1,3-D/Pic, Pic, dazomet and metham sodium) can cause severe incidences of phytotoxicity, and crop losses of up to 40%. This is related to the high organic matter (5-10%) and clay content (>50%) of soils in Toolangi, Victoria, where strawberry runners are grown. These factors combined with cold temperatures at fumigation (5-12°C) have contributed to long retention times of substitute fumigants in soil. Alternative fumigants with high vapour pressures, such as methyl iodide, have successfully disinfested soils in these environments, but were recently withdrawn in Australia. Certification authorities do not approve the use of substitute fumigants for runner production, and the industry currently applies for 29.79 t of MB pa under a critical-use exemption. The industry does, however, produce its early generations of runners using coir-based substrates, which reduces the need for disinfestation with MB/Pic. These systems are not economically feasible for later generations because runner prices would need to increase by more than 500% to make them viable. Current research is investigating the combined use of low-rate fumigants and herbicides for soil disinfestation in the runner industry, with the aim of reducing the risk of crop phytotoxicity from individual products. Source

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