Home' Grower : November 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower -- November 2011
Pests and diseases
IF a farmer has healthy soils and farm
management systems, there should be no need for
the use of synthetic pesticides, according to Chris
McColl (pictured), Kalangadoo Organics.
With his wife Michelle, he has 9 hectares of certified
organic apples and also grows organic stone fruit,
including peaches, nectarines and apricots.
They also produce apple juice with seconds apples
and dry some of both the apples and stone fruit.
The couple has farmed at their Kalangadoo
property for 19 years and converted to organic
farming in 2002.
"We're focused on supplying the local market,
farmers markets and independent supermarkets,"
"We're really going in the opposite direction to
the rest of the industry, which is having to get
bigger and bigger. We're focused on freshness and
Chris said the key to running a successful
organic enterprise was having a small, diverse,
mixed farm which also integrated animals, such as
pigs and chickens.
Pigs help to get rid of weeds on the property by
turning the ground over.
Another natural control method used in the fight
against pests is pheromone ties.
"For control of codling moth, rather than go out
Chris McColl, Kalangadoo Organic, uses pheromone ties to his apple trees to control codling
Healthy soils, answer to pest control
spraying, we put this plastic tie to the top of the
trees," he said.
"They saturate the trees with the smell of the
female codling moth. Then the males can't find the
females so there's no mating, no eggs and no grubs."
While these methods help get on top of pest
issues, Chris says the real key is having a natural,
healthy farming system.
"You find once you stop using synthetic
chemicals a lot of pests just disappear," he said.
"A great example is snails, once we stopped
using herbicide the snails basically disappeared.
"It's the same with weevils, mites and wooly aphid."
Chris says while he would not consider farming
conventionally again, being organic does pose its
"Our biggest issue is labour costs," he said.
"In terms of weed control, because we don't use
any chemicals we have to do it by hand. It does
involved a lot of extra work and so it does cost
• Use of dimethoate on certain
horticultural crops, including fruit fly
treatment of many fruits and vegetables.
• Use on all food-producing plants in the
• Supply and possession of dimethoate
products unless they carry the new
instructions for use.
Cherry Growers Australia chief executive
officer Simon Boughey said the CGA
board had been pushing for the suspension
not to take place and wrote to the
APVMA's chemical review team as late as
September 13, but to no avail.
"The CGA board will, and I hope other
state associations will, continue to push for
this decision to be revoked after this 12
month suspension," he said.
Apple and Pear Growers Association of
South Australian chairman Mike Nicol, who
farms at Uraidla, said while his industry
would not be directly affected by the loss of
dimethoate, they were concerned about any
further restrictions on chemical use.
"We're always mindful of pesticides being
taken away, because you never know when
some of these good products are going to
be taken away," he said.
"Every time you lose something, you
lose a tool out of the arsenal and that is
always a concern.
"Unfortunately, most of the time when a
product is withdrawn and an alternative
offered up, it is most often not as good as
the original product."
Mr Nicol said blackspot was always a
major issue for apple and pear growers, but
there were very good products on the
market for their control.
"Codling moth is still lurking around and
one of those pests we'll most likely never
be rid of, but there are some very good
new generation chemicals coming through
for its control," he said.
"Fruit fly can be a problem, but not in a
commercial orchard themselves. It's the
impact of fruit fly when it comes into a
garden area in the city or foothills and we
then have a quarantine area put around us,
which restricts our market access."
Mr Nicol said the apple industry was very
much on the front foot as far as
monitoring for pests and disease.
"Monitoring helps us to be very targeted
and ver y accurate with our spray applications
and allows us to use less chemicals and use
them more effectively," he said.
But neglected orchards could be a major
"They are hot beds for disease and
codling moth," he said.
"It's really difficult for growers because if
you happen to have a neglected orchard
next door. You really struggle because
basically you've got a breeding ground of
disease right on your back doorstep."
South Australian Citrus Industry
Development Board chief executive officer
Andrew Green said while the dimethoate
suspension would not affect citrus growers'
spraying regimes, it could pose other issues.
"Dimethoate is used as quite an
important treatment for dipping on product
to disinfect fruit for fr uit fly," he said.
"The main problem is that for
horticultural crops on which peel is edible,
the use of dimethoate has been banned and
that doesn't leave too many options.
"But, it's not an issue that directly affects
our industry, in the Riverland they haven't
had a fruit fly outbreak since the early 1990s."
But Mr Green said if there were a fruit
fly outbreak in the Adelaide region it could
impact on the northern plains and Adelaide
"For stone fruit, the only option would
be cold treatment," he said.
"That means they may miss market
opportunities and cold treating fruit can
cause potential damage to fruit if it's not
Almond Board of Australia industry
development manager Ben Brown said any
time a chemical disappeared from use was a
"But we're well aware of the reasons why
the old chemistry is being withdrawn," he said.
"We're in favour of maintaining product
quality and integrity at the same time
managing consumer, farm operator and
Concerns echo worries of broadacre
Neglected orchards hotbeds for dis-
Growers worry about further APVMA
AT A GLANCE
Every time you lose something, you
lose a tool out of the arsenal and that is
always a concern.
-- Mike Nicol
Chris McColl, Kalangadoo Organic, uses
chickens among his nectarine trees to help
keep the pests down.
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