Decision help ‘marginal’

Peach growers Danny DiMarco, Eric Ghilarducci, John DiMarco, Leo Caccetta, Steve Ghilarducci and Carlo Caccetta say they face unsustainable crop losses this season. Picture: Marcelo Palacios www.communitypix.com.au d410651
Peach growers Danny DiMarco, Eric Ghilarducci, John DiMarco, Leo Caccetta, Steve Ghilarducci and Carlo Caccetta say they face unsustainable crop losses this season. Picture: Marcelo Palacios www.communitypix.com.au d410651

His comments came after a national authority relented on its decision to ban the growers’ main fruit fly pesticide entirely from peaches and apricots this year, as it reviews potential health risks.

Growers belonging to the Hills Orchard Improvement Group (HOIG) lost five to 100 per cent of their crops after three-spray permits reduced to two when the review began last season.

After the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) announced the total peach and apricot spray ban last month, Summerfruit Australia appealed for the one-spray permit granted last week.

‘It will not completely protect against the fruit fly problem, but it will offer a lifeline,’ Mr Moore said.

He said he was glad fruits were ‘at least some way protected, albeit briefly, from the revenging fruit flies that decimate a grower’s livelihood.’

The permit says growers must wait three weeks after the spray to harvest.

HOIG spokesman Brett DelSimone said one spray protected fruit for a maximum of two weeks, meaning fruit would spend an extra week vulnerable on the trees. ‘With two applications we still suffered,’ he said.

‘This may be marginally helpful but that’s it.

‘This is the fourth stance by the APVMA in 13 months. It’s a mess. Every time the APVMA acts they seem to make it worse.

‘We need some certainty in this industry, it’s killing us.’

The restricted permit does not affect the two-spray permit on other crops and applies until April 30.

The review will finish mid-2014.