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Out-foxing fruity bandits


damage? gorging? environmentalists?
2011!! still have an issue. learn how to farm!

"Mr West said the netting proved to be effective in protecting fruit on the trees, and he would certainly be applying for the program in future years if it was extended." and how many generations is this "farmer"?

A PROGRAM to stop flying foxes gorging on our fresh fruit is being extended by the NSW government.

The flying fox netting program was first introduced for the Sydney Basin in 2011, before being extended to other parts of the state, with $4 million available for subsidies to buy the netting through 2016.

Prior to the election in March, the government signed a commitment to fund the extension of the program in a Memorandum of Understanding with NSW Farmers, a move that has pleased fruit growers.

"Environmentalists want the bats protected, but our orchards need protecting too," said apple and cherry grower Peter West, "Balmoral", Canobolas.

Mr West said he had used as much netting as he could afford for the past seven or eight years, and when he was able to get a subsidy to net some of his last crop it was a big relief.

"They (flying foxes) are bad every couple of years...they can do quite a bit of damage."

Mr West said the netting proved to be effective in protecting fruit on the trees, and he would certainly be applying for the program in future years if it was extended.

A spokesman for Environment Minister Mark Speakman said the program had been effective wherever people took it up.

"There has been a strong uptake of the netting program across NSW because of its effectiveness reducing flying-foxes in orchards," he said.

"Bird impacts also decrease as a result of the netting and some orchardists have upgraded their netting to minimise hail damage as well.

"Originally the program was restricted to the Sydney basin as the location where the biggest flying-fox impacts on orchards were recorded.

"Based on feedback from orchardists the program has been expanded to include other fruit growing areas of NSW."

He said netting was the only effective method of protecting crops against large numbers of flying foxes, and under the program orchardists had the option to install either fully secured or throw over netting, to suit different climatic conditions and orchard topography.

"The Environmental Trust has recently agreed to provide contingency funding to allow the program to continue, given the benefits being achieved," he said.

To date, there have been more than 20 applications from the Central West, over 30 in Tumut and Batlow and about 30 in the Sydney Basin.

Commercial orchardists can contact the Rural Assistance Authority to apply for a netting subsidy.

For more information visit Rural Assistance Authority

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Megabats and Microbats: Out-foxing fruity bandits
Out-foxing fruity bandits
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