The Australian export trade in lucerne seed is worth $22.2 million pa nationally. Over 90% of export lucerne seed is produced in South Australia. The major export markets for lucerne are Argentina, Saudi Arabia, North Africa and Europe. Overseas markets require phytosanitary declarations for bacterial wilt in lucerne. In addition, Western Australia has a legislative requirement for freedom from bacterial wilt of lucerne seed. A survey for bacterial wilt was conducted in 2002 to update the area freedom status of major lucerne seed producing areas in South Australia and Victoria. Bacterial wilt was detected in the main lucerne seed production area of SA. This meant that the area freedom status was no longer applicable and that a system needed to be put in place to ensure that phytosanitary requirements of export markets with respect to bacterial wilt could still be met. This project has developed phytosanitary inspection and testing protocols in collaboration with seed service providers, industry, government and regulatory authorities to ensure that lucerne seed producers can continue to access markets and meet international phytosanitary requirements.
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