Pest found in SA cereal crops

South Australian agriculture authorities say an exotic pest has been detected in local cereal crops.

An exotic pest has been detected in South Australian cereal crops - the first time it has been reported in Australia.

The Russian wheat aphid, which poses a major threat to the state's $1.6 billion grain industry, has been found at a number of sites in the state's mid-north - prompting an investigation into the source and the launch of a control program.

South Australian Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell says farmers need to be aware of the threat the aphid poses to their crops.

"The state government is putting all possible resources into the detection," Mr Bignell said on Wednesday.

The Russian wheat aphid is found in all other major cereal production regions around the world but has not previously been reported in Australia.

It injects toxins into the crops, including wheat and barley, retarding growth and eventually killing the plant.

Biosecurity SA chief executive Will Zacharin said it was important for all farmers to keep a close eye on their emerging crops over the coming weeks.

He said once the extent of the problem was determined, farmers would be provided with advice on the best treatment options.

The initial detection of the aphid was made on a farm at Tarlee with further reports coming from other properties within 20 kilometres of the original site.

Surveillance has now be extended to cover all grain growing areas across the state as part of a broader national program.

Source AAP

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