Lupin disease barrier

AN outbreak of the lupin disease anthracnose five years ago is stopping WA farmers from sending feed to their counterparts in the eastern States, despite the desperate need.

The anthracnose outbreak resulted in a quarantine notice being slapped on feed coming from WA farms.

Anthracnose is a fungal disease that affects the growth and yield of lupin crops.

A Pastoralists and Graziers Association spokesman said the ban was laughable because there had been anthracnose outbreaks over east in the past.

“Their farmers are screaming for feed and we can’t send it to them,” he said.

A Grainpool of WA spokeswoman said there was available feed to be sent to the east but the restrictions made it difficult.

“We understand that the Department of Agriculture is dealing with its counterparts in the eastern States to resolve the problem,” she said.

Department of Agriculture manager plant health Shashi Sharma said New South Wales and Victoria had placed differing restrictions on the importation of feed from WA.

In New South Wales feed can come from paddocks that have not had lupins planted for the past five years. Alternatively, its authorities want cold sampling of one bale in 10 to ensure there are no traces of lupins.

Victorian authorities will not accept the five-year period. Instead, they rely on cold sampling of feed bales.

Mr Sharma said those wanting to send lupin seed for processing had to write to the quarantine authority in question to seek approval.

“The demand for WA feed was not huge at the moment because of the restrictions in place,” he said.

“Farmers in the eastern States haven’t considered WA because they know they cannot easily get feed from here.

“That demand could change dramatically if the restrictions were lifted,”

However, to have the restrictions lifted, WA has to show that it has eradicated anthracnose, something Mr Sharma said the State was not in a position to do.

Lupins play a vital role in farming. Besides being useful as a feed alternative they also help return nitrogen to the soil to help boost crop yields and offer farmers a crop rotation alternative.

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