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Media Release - September 14, 2018
 
Monitoring and surveillance a top priority for QFF contol: Grower survey

‘Monitoring and surveillance’ was ranked by regional commercial fruit growers as the highest priority activity for area-wide management of Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) across the greater Sunraysia area.

Over 130 table grape (31%), citrus (29%) and stone fruit (26%) growers responded to the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area Industry Development Committee (GSPFA IDC) survey held in August.  

The targeted survey seeking grower input was undertaken as a first step in working out the future focus for QFF management in the region.

With the finishing up of the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (GSPFA) Industry Development Committee (IDC) on 9th December it was important to consult with growers to find out what they believe are the main issues in controlling QFF and where they think future efforts should be focussed. This is an important step in determine initiatives for the future.

GSPFA Regional Coordinator Deidre Jaensch was pleased with the thoughtful and constructive feedback provided by growers on a diversity of issues.

“It is imperative to be able to provide a measure of the impact that QFF is having on our primary producers so that we can clearly communicate this to Federal, state and local governments in trying to secure continued support and funding for QFF management in the region,” Ms Jaensch said.

When asked about the relative importance of the QFF threat, the response was overwhelming with 85% of growers either agreeing or strongly agreeing that it has greatly impacted on their farming business.

Ms Jaensch said the survey provided an insight into the extent of the financial burden on growers in managing QFF.

She said 28% of respondents estimate their spend on fruit fly management at up to $2,500 per annum; 36% of properties spending between $2,500 and $10,000; and 32% of respondents reportedly spending more than $10,000 per annum.

“The question invited growers to estimate this cost to include labour value, lost crop, and chemical costs represented as a total cost per farm,” Ms Jaensch said.

The greatest effort in managing QFF on-farm has been directed towards an increase in monitoring (74%), undertaking on-farm control (75%) and increased hygiene activities to keep the ground free of infested fruit (57%).

When asked to prioritise the importance of co-ordinated area-wide fruit fly management activities, growers rated Monitoring and Surveillance as the highest priority activity, followed by Urban Trapping Programs, Tree Removal Programs and Hotspot Investigations.

A strategic planning session is scheduled for later in September where IDC and industry representatives will work together with the Victorian and NSW Governments to probe some of the key issues which challenge QFF management into the future.

“The results of the survey will help inform this forum and provide direction for co-ordinated fruit fly management in the region,” Ms Jaensch said.

Ms Jaensch said aggregated data reported that over 43% of growers surveyed “Agree” or “Strongly Agree” that the community “is aware of the seriousness of the Fruit Fly infestation and the potentially devastating impact on the future sustainability of the Greater Sunraysia region”.

“We are actively exploring new ways to provide information and continue to spread the message among both grower communities and the urban community about the need for everyone to take action in controlling QFF,” Ms Jaensch said.

It was pleasing that the survey identified that there was good awareness of the works the GSPFA had put in place with 89% aware of the urban trapping program, followed by 85% aware of the Tree Removal Program, and 82% for both monitoring and surveillance, and communication (social media, media, advertisements).

“Community outreach” for both the general community and for growers was the most common suggestion made in identifying Fruit Fly control activities “that could assist in achieving area-wide management across the Greater Sunraysia region”.

There was an extremely positive and proactive response by growers clearly wanting to be kept informed about pest management with 92 of the 133 survey respondents (70%) interested in receiving more information. Growers specifically expressed interest in receiving “latest research and technical information” (74%), “fruit-fly on-farm management information” (72%), and “targeted community and grower activities and events” (65%).

This finding aligns well with the current focus of the GSPFA supporting community district markets in Nyah, Swan Hill, Mildura, Barham and Kerang and information session throughout August, September, October and November, 2018.

There are also a number of grower workshops being convened in Mildura, Euston, and Woorinen in September aimed at helping growers with a better understanding how to monitor and control QFF on-farm.

Full information about grower and community information sessions will be advertised on the GSPFA website www.pestfreearea.com.au and Facebook page.

Watch this space!  We'll publish more of the detailed data soon!

 

 

Here's where to get more information

 

  • COMMUNITY MEETING - Kerang Lions Club - Kerang Lions 7pm supper provided.Club house, Wednesday 19th September 2018. 

  • GROWER MEETING - Swan Hill Summer Fruits QFF Field Day - Woorinen Football Netball Club Rooms. Wednesday 19th September 2018. Starting at 12noon lunch provided.

  • GROWER MEETING - Robinvale Table Grape Growers – Joe Gareffa’s property 156 Taylors Rd Euston. Tuesday 25th September. Starting at 8:30am. Breakfast provided.

  • GROWER MEETING – Mildura (venue TBC) Tuesday 25th September. Starting at 4:00pm with BBQ and light refreshments to follow.

  • MARKETS – Kerang Markets 22nd September 2018

  •  MARKETS - Sunraysia Farmers Market 6th October 2018