The National Fruit Fly Council’s (NFFC) Stuart Burgess and Chris O’Connor met with a number of groups in Victoria earlier this year.
Their first meeting was with the team from Agriculture Victoria as part of the NFFC’s ongoing engagement activities. Present was Victorian Chief Plant Protection Officer and NFFC member, Rosa Crnov, as well as Deputy Chief Plant Protection Officer, Steve Dibley, Research Leader, Paul Cunningham, Fruit Fly Coordinator Cathy Mansfield, and Senior Project Officer, Tara Hewitt.
A range of topics including progress over the last six months and updates from both the NFFC and Agriculture Victoria were discussed. Agriculture Victoria’s team also updated the NFFC on their work to release and establish parasitic wasp populations to combat fruit fly, as well as other fruit fly management work across the state.
The team also met with growers at the Summerfruit Forum held in Moama. They discussed issues growers face with fruit fly pressures and gained a deeper understanding of the challenges to be overcome to support the growth in trade and profitability for grower operations. Cobram-based growers also shared their preference for Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) to reduce pest pressure. The team was able to discuss the future of SIT based on a successful research trial conducted in recent years.
The team’s final meeting was with Bronwyn Koll, Queensland Fruit Fly Regional Coordinator and Adam Upton, Chair of the Yarra Valley Fruit Fly Regional Governance Group. Bronwyn and Adam provided an update on their activities and the region’s challenges in dealing with fruit fly. This includes the diversity of crops grown, a varying scale of operations and the business models they employ, the impact of backyard and non-commercial growers, as well as the proximity to Melbourne. Both Bronwyn and Adam noted the successes that the Area Wide Management (AWM) approach has achieved for the region in educating the community on fruit fly management and the benefits this has had in managing fruit fly pressure.