Ruinous time ahead

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

The comments came after a national authority relented on its decision to ban fenthion, the main fruit fly defence for growers, from peaches and apricots this year as it reviews potential health risks.

After the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) announced the ban, Summerfruit Australia appealed to the authority to permit growers one spray. It granted this last week.

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

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

Growers have traditionally used three sprays per season to protect their crops. They stand by evidence they say shows their fruit has not harmed and could not harm anyone.

After the three-spray permit changed to two as the review began last year, the WA government declared the Hills infested with fruit fly.

Growers belonging to the Hills Orchard Improvement group (HOIG) recorded crop losses of five to 100 per cent last season.

The APVMA’s latest interim permit, granted last week, says growers must wait three weeks between the one spray and harvest.

HOIG spokesman Brett DelSimone said one spray protected fruit for a maximum of two weeks, meaning the withholding period the permit states would leave fruit 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.’