• Loddon Herald

Cactus fruit fly link

WHEEL cactus has been identified as a potential host of fruit fly in Victoria.

In the battle for greater State Government resources to combat and eradicate the pest, Loddon farmers have confirmed its role in the spread of fruit fly.

President of the Victorian Farmers’ Federation Wedderburn branch, Graham Nesbit, said he had received advice that the cactus flowers were a potential host to fruit fly.

“We’re an important fruit and vege-table growing region in the Loddon and we’re too close to existing fruit fly exclusion zones and vital orchards around Castlemaine and the Goulburn Valley for the risk to be ignored by government,” he said.

Mr Nesbit said he had been in discussions with the National Fruit Fly Council.

“They said prickly pear was a definite host and we all know that wheel cactus is a first cousin and there’s an ugly patch of prickly pear near Wedderburn,” he said.

““Whether wheel cactus or prickly pear, there’s a real threat to our bio-

security and there’s not the money to do anything about it.

“This is a problem that extends beyond the threat to productive farmland to just about every aspect of agriculture in the Loddon, central and northern Victoria.”

Mr Nesbit said that since the Loddon campaign on wheel cactus had escalated, reports had been received of the weed now growing at Terrick Terrick.

“We are about sustainable amd viable agriculture but without proper resources, the State Government is risking our exports by leaving the door open on real action,” Mr Nesbit said.

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