There’s a new pest in town that has sparked enough concern among producers to trigger the state government to stage a burn-off on a block of land in East Wagga.
The Common White Snail is a biosecurity threat that, if left ignored, could cause serious harm to the state’s multi-million dollar grain industry.
Although its name would suggest otherwise, there is nothing common about the Common White Snail; the pesky critters can multiply incredibly quickly, with one pair capable of producing a massive 400 young snails in just one breeding season.
Riverina Local Land Services’ manager of biosecurity and emergency services Ray Willis said the vacant block on East Wagga’s Riedell Street had been chosen because of its proximity to Wagga’s trucking transport hub.
“While the snail doesn't move very fast itself, it can once it's attached to a truck, so we certainly want to stop that from happening,” Mr Willis said.
“The Common White Snail is a real pest for the grains industry, so we need to get on top of it now before it spreads out into the crops and becomes a real problem.”
While the snail doesn't move very fast itself, it can once it's attached to a truck.Ray Willis
General Manager of the Riverina Local Land Services Rob Kelly said the consequences would be disastrous if the Common White Snail managed to spread around the region.
“If they get into waterways and into our agricultural system, they do pose a threat to our ability to get production off, particularly in grain crops,” Mr Kelly said.
“Then, if they get off a site and into the environment, they will spread throughout agricultural production areas, and once they get into the crops they will continue to spread.
“You don’t want pests capable of reducing productivity getting into any agricultural scenario – it would be quite devastating if they do spread.”
Mr Willis said the burn-off in East Wagga would take place this Friday, May 11, and warned residents to avoid the area if they can and not to be alarmed if they see some smoke around the vacant block of land.
“It's not a fire that will be out of control, it's certainly a controlled situation, and fire authorities will be managing the burn,” he said.
Fire is the most effective way to control the Common White Snail, and the burn-off has been strategically timed to be over and done with before the autumn rains set in.
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