A Victorian Government scheme to remove trees on neglected northern Victorian orchards has resulted in only 15 000 being taken out so far.GEOFF ADAMS May 20, 2014 3:00am
The biosecurity law was amended about 12 months ago to enable DEPI to move onto neglected or abandoned orchards in the wake of the SPC Ardmona fruit intake cuts.
Some industry figures were concerned growers would not be able to afford to maintain their trees when their income was slashed and the resulting increase in pests and diseases could cause biosecurity risks to viable orchards.
Meanwhile, many growers have taken their own action and paid for removal of mostly peach trees around the Goulburn Valley.
Fruit Growers Victoria general manager John Wilson said a survey would be carried out and the figure could run to several hundred hectares.
When SPC Ardmona first announced its cuts last year the total area of fruit not required was about 750
Mr Wilson said he never believed there would be a big uptake in the government’s tree removal scheme.
‘‘One thing we can’t forget is that the removal of the trees does not necessarily prepare the property for alternative use,’’ he said.
‘‘All they are doing is removing the risk of pest and diseases, not preparing the ground for another crop.’’
DEPI’s strategy and governance in regulation and compliance manager Stuart Holland told Country News the department had negotiated with three growers to remove their trees and a fourth was almost finished.
The cost of tree removal remains with the property until sold, or the owner pays it off.
Most of the 15
He said while DEPI didn’t want to have to pull out trees, he said sometimes action had to be taken.
‘‘Our preference is to see the industry remain viable.
‘‘We don’t want to force someone out of business. We don’t take this issue lightly.
‘‘We are always prepared to talk about options and that’s what we talk about on our first visit.
‘‘There have been some who have said, ‘I will look after it’ — and that’s been done.’’
Mr Holland said SPC Ardmona’s decision to go back to some growers and ask for more fruit after successful marketing campaigns may have been responsible for a pause in the numbers of people expected to seek DEPI intervention.
He said he was quite happy that the level of intervention was on a much smaller scale than anticipated.Fruit fly threat
The biggest pest threat emerging this season was from Queensland fruit fly, Mr Wilson told Country News.
‘‘QFF is now rife,’’ he said, after the DEPI had moved away from controlling the pest in northern Victoria.
He said growers had had to ramp up their management programs to fight the pest.
‘‘Within a couple of seasons people will not be able to grow tomatoes in their backyards of Shepparton because it will be full of fruit fly.’’
Coca-Cola Amatil has confirmed it will be pressing on with its $100 million redevelopment of SPC Ardmona.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
A snake was spotted this afternoon.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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