Farmers at a loss as flying foxes wreak havoc
NSW Farmers is calling for additional government funding to ensure all growers have the opportunity to combat the influx of flying foxes wreaking havoc for fruit growers across the State.
NSW Farmers' Orange Branch Chair Bruce Reynolds said this summer has been particularly hard hit by flying foxes.
"We're estimating flying foxes have contributed up to 10% of fruit loss around Orange," Mr Reynolds said.
"It's extremely frustrating. Farmers work hard for months putting in a crop and it can be destroyed by flying foxes in just one week.
"It also hits consumers' hip pockets because a shortage of supply increases costs.
"The NSW Government was funding a successful flying fox netting subsidy but it has been fully committed since March this year, and farmers can no longer apply for the scheme.
"The scheme was a partnership between producers and the government, and fruit that has been netted has been saved.
"But around 260 hectares of orchards around Orange and Batlow still need to be netted. We want to see every grower granted the opportunity to protect their crops. There's no doubt additional government funding is needed."
Netting has proven to be the most environmentally friendly and safest option for flying foxes and growers.
"Due to the lack of native food sources, flying foxes are travelling further for food and in large proportions this summer," Mr Reynolds said.
"Health experts have also warned about the dangers to human health.
"There have been reports of people being bitten and scratched."