Home' Grower : November 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower -- November 2011
Pests and diseases
Loss of chemical hits rotations
THE SUSPENSION of the chemical dimethoate
means the loss of a rotation option, according
to Adelaide Hills grower Simon Cornish
(pictured below), Kenton Valley cherries.
He farms at Gumeracha on 120 hectares
that includes 30ha of cherries. He also runs
The Cornish family has been at the
Gumeracha farm for six generations and, in
that time, has been home to a range of
primary production, including an apple
orchard, dairy and potato growing. The
cherry trees were planted in 1994.
"Fungus and rots are our biggest disease
concerns, particularly in wet spring and wet
summers," Simon said,
"We're continually monitoring our crops
and when we think we've got a problem or
when the weather is conducive to rots, we'll
put protective fungicides on."
Simon said there were quite a few insect
"Cherry slug, aphids and thrips are the
main ones but earwigs are also a problem,"
"We bait for earwigs in spring. With the
other pests, it comes down to monitoring and
if we've got a problem using a commercial
Simon says he has used dimenthoate as an
insecticide for aphids.
"The main issue I see with dimenthoate
being suspended is that it's very effective
and cheap to use," he said.
"Rather than use dimenthoate, we have to
use the chemical Pirimor.
"If they're getting rid of dimenthoate,
they're only leaving one alternative for
getting rid of aphids. If you have to rely on
one chemical, you can't have a rotation."
And Simon says with cherry being a minor-
use crop, large chemical companies were
less likely to invest in coming up with cost-
Simon was also concerned about
dimenthoate's suspension for use as a fruit
"It shouldn't affect us personally, unless
there's a fruit fly outbreak in the Adelaide
Hills," he said.
"We've never had an issue here at our farm
but at Norton Summit 10 years ago, some
growers had fruit fly and had to treat their
Simon says while he can understand the
APVMA's concerns about dimenthoate use as
a fruit fly treatment, he can not see why its a
concern when used for spraying. Simon and
his family sell cherries and cherry products
like jams in a shop and cafe on their farm.
They also sell to major interstate markets,
export to Singapore themselves and export
to other countries through another exporter.
Cherries are the major revenue for the farm
and during harvest they employ 130 people.
Simon said the industry did not need any
more challenges at a time when the cherry
market was becoming oversupplied.
"In the past we've been able to send fruit
into China, we've been able to send fruit into
Taiwan and into Thailand and as of next year
none of those will be open to us," he said.
Fruit fly concerns have led to these trade
closures, so while the Riverland will still be
able to access these markets, due to their
fruit-fly free status, the Adelaide Hills will be
"Three years ago 70 per cent of our fruit
was exported," he said.
"For the last two years we've had weather
damage so we couldn't meet export
expectations. When customers in Singapore
are paying $3 per 100 grams, with those high
prices come high expectations."
Harvest starts at the beginning of
December and goes to Mid January.
"The crop is looking good at the moment
but they're forecasting a return to LaNina
weather conditions, which could be a
disaster," he said.
Industry groups fear market
Stories By PAULA THOMPSON
GROWERS are concerned the
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary
Medicines Authority suspension of
the use of the chemical dimethoate may
signal a trend towards the further restriction
of chemicals and their use.
While the suspension may not affect
some commodity groups directly, the
suspension of the cheap and effective
chemical means the loss of another tool in
the fight against disease.
These grower concerns also echo worries
put for ward by the broadacre farming
community about increasingly tight APVMA
restrictions on chemical spraying, including
buffer zones. The APVMA has suspended
the use of dimethoate on a number of food
crops because of "potential dietary risks".
New restrictions will mean that
dimethoate can be used only on certain
The chemical dimenthoate can no longer be used for the control of aphids in cherry crops or
for fruit-fly treatment.
Authority suspends Dimethoate because of 'potential
APVMA pesticides program manager Raj
Bhula said the suspension followed the
release of the 2011 Dimethoate Residues and
Dietary Risk Assessment Report, which found
that its use on many crops could exceed the
recommended public health standard.
"Some of the estimated exposures for
consumers are above the acute reference
dose, reducing -- but not breaching -- the
margins of safety that are normally in place
to protect consumers," he said.
"These safety margins, built into the
APVMA's risk assessment, provide a
protective buffer to ensure that consumers
will not actually be exposed to high levels
of residues in food.
"If our risk assessment shows that these
standards could be exceeded, the APVMA
must remove or modify the use of the
chemical on the crop so that consumption
remains in line with the public health
The suspension will be for 12 months while
the authority completes further assessments.
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