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Prickly Pear Problem

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Saturday 21 January 1939, The Sydney Morning Herald

PLANT BEATS INSECT IN PLACES.

Re-growth Thriving.

The Minister for Lands, Mr. Sinclair, said yesterday that it had been demonstrated that a combined policy of biological and mechanical treatment was essential to cope with the prickly pear pest.

“As each year progresses.” he added, “it is found that methods which were considered right at one time have to be discarded in favour of newer methods of attack.

“Not only have we the old natural habits of the pear to combat, but it has been found that the plant altered its habits to endeavour to resist the attacks.

“In different parts of the State the results have varied. In the western division, north from Collarenebri, the regrowth pear has continued to thrive unchecked by the cactoblastis insect.

“In the Bingara-Inverell district, where the cactoblastis did excellent work over a considerable area early in the year, a heavy growth of young pear is in evidence.

“In part of the Moree-Boggabilla district much young pear is growing, while in other areas, particularly in the Belar and Brigalow, country, re-growth is very light.”

EFFECT OF ALTITUDE.

Mr. Sinclair said that in the Scone-Denman district the pear had been practically wiped out on the rough sandstone country, while on the basalt country a peculiar position had arisen.

On the lower country, he added, the insects were doing good work, while in the same class of country at higher altitudes they had failed to make any impression on the pear.

“To overcome the position,” Mr. Sinclair said, “Analyses of the various soils and plants are being made in co-operation with the Commonwealth Pear Boards.”

The Minister said that steps had been taken to collect cactoblastis, where they were plentiful, and distribute them in areas where they were scarce.

“While the dry season retarded the growth of the pear in parts of the State,” he said, “it had an injurious effect on the insects.

“Over a big part of the State, particularly in the Hunter River Valley, a very considerable area of scattered seedling pear has made its appearance. Special steps are being taken to require the destruction of this scattered pear before it fruits.”

Last year 461,883 acres of pear were treated by the Prickly Pear Destruction Commission. In addition, many thousands of acres were treated by land owners.

Seventeen prickly pear leases, comprising 13,797 acres, were granted.

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Written by macalba

April 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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