27 May

Bug takes heavy toll on Australian olive growers

A number of olive groves in the Lower Hunter have nothing to harvest this year because of widespread damage from the olive lace bug.

Mike Wilson from the Hunter Olive Growers Association says the weather this year has been a major factor in the spread of the bug, which he estimates has destroyed at least 100 tonnes of olives.

He says growers in the Broke, Pokolbin and Rothbury areas are the worst affected and the trees will need time to recover, so the losses will last well into next year.

“Others managed to control it, to get onto it early enough, that wasn’t too bad,” he said.

“But yes there’s a few people there who have just lost the 2008 crop and the 2009 potential crop and yes, in some cases, total loss.”

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