sustainability through science & innovation

RWA Portal

The first detection of Russian wheat aphid (RWA) in Australia occurred on cereal crops in May 2016. Within one month a combined industry-government biosecurity committee determined that an eradication attempt for RWA was unlikely to be successful.

RWA is now a management concern for grain growers in regions where it has been found (South Australia, Victoria, southern half of New South Wales, and Tasmania) and poses a risk for currently unaffected regions.

It is not yet known what effect Australian conditions will have on RWA’s ability to establish and feed on hosts, which include wheat, barley and a large range of cultivated and wild grasses.

Since RWA has not been previously detected in Australia, limited research under local agro-climatic conditions and farming systems currently exists. A new GRDC investment, ‘Russian wheat aphid risk assessment and regional thresholds’ has been launched to investigate regional risk and management tactics for RWA. View the project flyer

As a part of this project, this portal provides fortnightly updates on RWA occurrence at trial site locations across South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania. Click here for the latest RWA abundance data

Information for affected regions

Since RWA has not been previously detected in Australia, limited research under local agro-climatic conditions and farming systems currently exists.

Growers and advisors should refer to the GRDC Russian Wheat Aphid Tips and Tactics, delivered through Grow Notes, for advice on managing RWA, or refer to the Russian Wheat Aphid: Tactics for Future Control resource.

If you suspect a RWA infestation, remember to follow each step in the FITE strategy:

Find

Look for aphids and the characteristic plant symptoms of infection including leaf streaking or leaf rolling on cereal crops and grasses.

Identify

Positively identify RWA by consulting with an industry specialist (You can contact the PestFacts insect identification service if in doubt).

Threshold approach

Before deciding on your plan of attack consider thresholds for control, the presence of natural aphid enemies in the crop, crop growth stage and potential yield losses.*

Enact

Take appropriate action: Manage your next steps including encouraging beneficial insects and protecting honeybees before implementing control options.

Watch this video to learn more about the FITE strategy.

*A diverse range of beneficial insects are known to predate on RWA and these populations will build in response to the presence of aphids throughout the season. Growers are encouraged to consider control options that will have minimal impact on beneficial populations. This investment will also investigate beneficial predation of RWA during the summer period, which will add to our knowledge of how to manage RWA at a regional level. Read about our green bridge surveillance work.

Information for unaffected regions

RWA has not been detected in WA, NT and QLD. Grain growers and advisers across Australia should remain vigilant and keep a look out for unusual aphid activity in cereal crops.

Suspected new infestations in WA, NT and QLD should be reported to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. These reports will aid in improving our understanding of the RWA range and rate of spread.

If you do suspect an infestation, take an image of the infestation or plant symptoms. You might be asked to send a sample for identification.

Biosecurity best practices should be followed on-farm and by regular farm visitors, such as advisors. These include:

  • Control of farm traffic through signage
  • Having dedicated parking areas for visitors
  • Limiting access to paddocks
  • Use of wash down bays for machinery and vehicles

For more information on biosecurity best practices visit farmbiosecurity.com.au, contact your state Grains Biosecurity Officer or download the Biosecurity Manual for Grain Producers

This research initiative is a GRDC investment that seeks to deliver information on Russian Wheat Aphid management for grain growers. This project is being undertaken by the South Australian Research & Development Institute (SARDI) and cesar.