Vinehealth Australia is planning a major new biosecurity IT platform to replace the existing Vineyard Register, to improve the organisation’s ability to protect vineyards from pests and diseases.

“The current vineyard register is essential, but through innovation we feel it could better support all parts of biosecurity management, particularly planning, response management and surveillance,” says Vinehealth Australia CEO Inca Pearce.

“This biosecurity IT system has the potential to put the wine industry in a position that will be envied by other agriculture commodities in terms of biosecurity management.”

With the support of PIRSA, Vinehealth started work on this project in October 2016 and has completed the consultation and value proposition phases.

“We are working towards an adaptive and innovative solution to take full advantage of rapid leaps in technology to more effectively support grapevine biosecurity management,” Inca says.

“Before identifying specific technologies to incorporate into our new system, we embarked on an engagement strategy with our South Australian levy payers, our interstate partners, research organisations, government, biosecurity and GIS experts and industry bodies, to better understand their needs, recognise synergies and to ensure our system could deliver value back to our diverse customer base.”

Benefits of the new biosecurity IT platform include:

  • Improved efficiency and delivery of biosecurity services to industry;
  • Early recognition of emerging pest and disease threats;
  • Integrated responses to threats, limiting spread and impact;
  • Improvement of emergency preparedness and response;
  • Improved management of quarantine zones through supporting the regulators with communication and industry input;
  • More efficient use of resources;
  • Capture of data from State surveillance programs for pests and disease, e.g., DNA sampling for phylloxera which the government has invested significantly in;
  • Enhanced communication and education of growers regarding biosecurity threats and management practises; and
  • Safeguarding of ‘old vines’ and the brands they support;

The specifications for Vinehealth’s desired biosecurity platform are significantly broader than that of the current system. As a minimum, the new platform must meet the legislative requirements of the South Australian Vineyard Register required under the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Act 1995.

Other desirable components include facilitating training support, a communications portal, ability to host data analysis and modelling, support traceability and as a repository of geographically-based information relevant to grapevine biosecurity.

“We are currently in the stage of reviewing and finalising our functional requirements for this biosecurity system, then we will work to develop an implementation plan once resources have been secured,” Inca says.

For the latest news on this project, click here.