Vic’s spuds are good to go

The first consignments of potatoes to leave Victoria since the discovery of diseased crops last year have been trucked to Canberra and Brisbane.

Interstate trade was halted after the discovery three months ago of potato cyst nematode on a property at Thorpdale, the centre of one of Victoria’s major potato growing regions.

It has taken more than 280,000 negative soil samples, countless meetings of quarantine authorities from four states, hours of inspections and reams of paperwork to end the ban imposed on growers within a 20km radius of the infected paddock.

Victorian Potato Growers Council chairman, Des Jennings, said it had been a stressful and expensive exercise for the growers, who would have to pay for tests, inspections by Department of Primary Industries officials and staff from the Victorian Certified Seed Potato Authority, and government certificates.

PCN is a soil-borne worm-like organism less than 1mm long, which attacks plant roots and stunts growth, significantly reducing crop yields.

— FOODweek

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