Horticulture

Tackling pest

By Country News

Home gardeners, commercial growers and community groups have been enlisted to stop the spread of Queensland fruit fly.

Throughout the week-long No Flies on Us Expo a number of guest speakers and industry experts visited communities and towns across the region to spread the message.

Goulburn Murray Valley regional fruit fly co-ordinator Ross Abberfield urged the community to get on board and learn more about the simple steps home gardeners and the broader community could take to protect against the pest.

‘‘The region’s multi-million-dollar horticulture industry is a critical driver for the local economy and by working together with growers, home gardeners and the broader community we are best placed to protect our region from the devastating effects of QFF,’’ he said.

Queensland fruit fly attacks and damages a wide range of fruit and vegetables, and is recognised as a serious pest.

When fruit is attacked it is inedible, meaning fruit fly outbreaks limit production for growers and result in reduced income through lost trade opportunities.

While Queensland fruit fly is native to eastern Queensland and north-east NSW, the prevalence of hosts in Victoria and NSW has expanded the area in which it is found.

Queensland fruit fly activity generally increases in spring as the weather becomes warmer, however is not restricted to a particular season.

The expo, which finished on Monday, included visits to Cobram, Mooroopna, Euroa, Echuca, Shepparton and Berrigan.

‘‘The expo expands on the great results achieved in 2017-18 and promotes an ongoing proactive response in the 2018-19 season. It’s about creating ownership of the issue and increasing community awareness about the threat QFF poses to our unique regional lifestyle and economy,’’ Mr Abberfield said.

‘‘Our aim is to provide the community with the knowledge and expertise necessary to prevent, control and manage fruit fly in their backyards, commercial crops and on public lands.’’

■For more information on how to prevent the spread of Queensland fruit fly visit: gmv-qldfruitfly.com.au/qff-prevention