Grim reaping for growers

Growers John Gregorovich, Wally Gava says the government’s restrictions on the use of fenthion has cost them 30 per cent of their crop. Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au d402738
Growers John Gregorovich, Wally Gava says the government’s restrictions on the use of fenthion has cost them 30 per cent of their crop. Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au d402738

Nationwide restrictions mean they can now only use two sprays of the chemical fenthion instead of the usual three. It may soon be banned entirely.

Many growers have reported significant losses to Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) since restrictions began.

The alternative, Area Wide Management (AWM), involves releasing sterile populations, baiting and trapping and relies on commercial and residential growers removing all fallen fruit.

Agriculture Minister Ken Baston’s spokeswoman said trials proved growers could handle Medfly this way, but implementation was harder in more built-up areas.

Growers John Gregorovich and Wally Gava of Pickering Brook, which is such an area, said Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) staff advised them in March they would be unable to manage Medfly in the area with AWM alone.

Mr Gregorovich said the department was only mentioning isolated areas such as Jarrahdale when recounting successes with the AWM strategy.

The pair said in the past season they had each lost up to 30 per cent of their crops.

‘All the trapping in the world isn’t going to stop that sting,’ Mr Gregorovich said.

‘All I need is one sting on that Granny Smith and that’s it, it’s finished.

‘This needs to be truly ‘area wide’ management but that’s a very expensive set-up.

‘DAFWA hasn’t begun to give us an idea of what it’s worth ‘