19 Aug

Australian Olive growers suffer bug setback

Olive growers say crop losses from an infestation of olive lace bugs and fungal disease are worse than first thought, with yields down by about 50 per cent.

The Hunter Olive Association‘s vice-president, Mike Wilson, says about 450 tonnes of olives were processed for oil this year, down from 880 tonnes in 2007.

There was also a 30 per cent drop in olives processed for pickled fruit.

Mr Wilson says it is a setback for many growers.

“Each year we expect the industry to grow slightly because more trees come online and the trees get a bit bigger and we get better at it,” he said.

“We had a very bad problem with a fungal disease that hit the table olives very, very badly, we had a problem with olive lace bugs, and unfortunately the chemical sprays that work weren’t permitted for use, and the chemical sprays that we were permitted to use didn’t work because it was raining.”

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