NY00018 - Potential for PCR Based Disease Diagnostic Services in the Nursery Industry

Decision research was commissioned to examine the viability of a PCR based diagnostic test for Phytopthora as well as exploring the potential for tests for other relevant disease in the nursery industry. A two staged research design was adopted consisting of preliminary qualitative research comprising 3 focus groups and followed by quantitative telephone surveys with 205 Australian nursery proprietors and 20 growing media manufacturers. The findings of the research indicate that Phytopthora is considered an important disease, with serious implications but perceived susceptibility among the nursery industry is extremely low. Satisfaction with current diagnostic service providers is very high. The findings suggest limited knowledge and understanding of diagnostic techniques utilized to test for Phytopthora. The use of state-based agriculture departments in disseminating information is an important avenue for improving education and awareness.