BIOSECURITY is being heightened across the cropping belt in a bid to keep costly lupin anthracnose at bay.
The lupin industry contributes $65 million to the state annually and anthracnose is noted as a big threat.
If anthracnose in this crop is not controlled “saving the industry” from it is estimated to carry a control cost of at least $5 million. NSW Department of Primary Industries plant pathologist Kurt Lindbeck said anthracnose was the most serious disease affecting lupins worldwide. He said the disease was identified in six locations, in a triangle region from Cootamundra, Gundagai, Coolamon and Junee, during the growing season last year. “We have been increasing surveillance (with Riverina Local Land Services) and making sure it is only restricted to those areas,” he said.
Despite being considered an attractive nitrogen-fixing option in crop rotations Dr Lindbeck said overall lupin production had over the past four or five years. “Mixed farmers grow lupins and it is a valuable stock feed … there is also growing interest in lupin flowers that can be used in food, lupins could be the next super food,” he said.
Meanwhile, ornamental lupins in backyard gardens is something that could have potentially devastating affects. Dr Lindbeck said home gardeners had been replacing Russell lupins with other plants. “Commercial lupin crops can be grown on properties beyond a one kilometre boundary of farms where the diasese was found,” he said.