New autumn release to boost summer fruit

NSW DPI scientist Dr Shane Hetherington says the timely release of the new ‘Integrated Pest and Disease Management for Australian Summerfruit’ manual this autumn will benefit stone fruit production throughout the country’s fruit growing regions.

NSW DPI scientist Dr Shane Hetherington says the timely release of the new ‘Integrated Pest and Disease Management for Australian Summerfruit’ manual this autumn will benefit stone fruit production throughout the country’s fruit growing regions.

Hundreds of orchardists and scientists from six Australian states have worked together to develop the first-ever ‘Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) for Australian Summerfruit’ manual which was released this month.

Chief author and NSW Department of Primary Industries scientist, Shane Hetherington, said stone fruit growers, researchers and advisers from 13 Australian Summerfruit regions contributed to the comprehensive and practical production guide.

“IPDM uses a range of strategies including monitoring and biological control to produce healthy fruit while reducing the use of pesticides,” Dr Hetherington said.

“It’s also a tool for Intelligent Pesticide Decision Making because growers can use the information to save money by minimising the need for insecticide and fungicide applications as well as improving orchard and farmer health.”

Consumers and the environment too can reap benefits from an IPDM program.

“Pest management in IPDM systems emphasises the more environmentally-friendly options such as biological control,” he said.

“Shoppers can be confident that fruit they purchase has been produced using pesticides only when absolutely necessary and the amount of chemical used is strictly regulated to safe levels.”

The manual was designed to match the latest IPDM techniques with the needs of orchardists growing summer fruit crops, which include cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and prunes.

Valuable information reflecting grower needs was gathered in surveys conducted in the major fruit growing areas during the last three years.

One of the big issues highlighted in the surveys was the impact of bird pests and in response NSW DPI researcher, John Tracey, has contributed a special chapter on a diverse range of management options to reduce bird pest impact on fruit.

Other significant pests and diseases are covered with major contributions from NSW DPI’s Sandra Hardy on Western flower thrips, DPI Victoria’s Mofakhar Hossain on Carpophilus beetles and Oriental Fruit Moth and Queensland DPI and Fisheries’ Christine Horlock on Bacterial spot.

“Growers will find detailed information on Brown rot, leaf curl, two-spotted mite, San José scale and all the major pests and diseases affecting summer fruit production with input from experts around the country,” Dr Hetherington said.

Production of the ‘IPDM for Australian Summerfruit’ manual was funded through Horticulture Australia Ltd from grower levies with a matching contribution from the Commonwealth Government.

Approximately nine hundred manuals were mailed to all growers who contribute levy funds to Summerfruit Australia and additional copies are available from Dr Hetherington.