Dr. Penny Meesham visits the Goulburn Valley

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As part of the Area Wide Management of Queensland Fruit Fly project,  Dr Penny Measham and Dr Justine Murray recently visited the Goulburn Valley. This visit was organised, by Fruit Growers Victoria Ltd.  and the Horticulture Centre of Excellence, Tatura. The purpose of their visit was to better understand the Goulburn Valley and Sunraysia landscape for Area Wide Management of Queensland Fruit Fly. 

Dr Penny Measham was recently appointed as the Queensland Fruit Fly Area Wide Management Coordinator. Her role is part of the recent funding secured through the Rural Research and Development (R&D) for Profit co-investment project ‘Adaptive Area-Wide Management of Queensland Fruit Fly using SIT.'

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            Dr Penny Measham (left) and Dr Justine Murray (right)

The Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) Project will help to control the Queensland Fruit Fly, a major pest of Australian horticulture. It will integrate the release of sterile male flies into area-wide integrated pest management programs. This will reduce crop losses caused by Queensland fruit fly damage, and will help Australian horticulture industries to access new markets for their products.

The role of Dr Penny Measham as Queensland Fruit Fly AWMC is to be the primary two-way conduit between the project’s research team and stakeholders involved in Queensland Fruit Fly management for delivery of the regionally focussed programs in horticultural production areas affected by endemic Queensland Fruit Fly or outbreaks. 

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Dr Penny Measham was accompanied by Dr Justine Murray from CSIRO. Dr Justine Murray is a landscape ecologist with skills in expert elicitation and species distribution modelling. She is investigating the relationship between species and their environment at multiple spatial scales. Her research covers invasive and threatened species in both natural and agricultural landscapes.

During the visit Dr Penny Measham had an opportunity to discuss with members of Goulburn Valley Queensland Fruit Fly Taskforce and people from the Horticulture Centre of Excellence led by Dr Sze Flett and discuss the current situation and practices for Queensland Fruit Fly management.

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  Neglected orchard in the neighbourhood

In order to have a better understanding of landscape for the purpose of modelling and to meet with different practices for Queensland Fruit Fly management, Dr Penny Measham visited one modern packing facility and some outstanding growers in Ardmona, Shepparton and Cobram. The growers  explained their approach to Queensland Fruit Fly management based on specific environmental conditions such as urban development close to orchards, neglected orchards in neighbourhood, surrounding vegetation which provides good habitat for Queensland Fruit Fly.

The team of scientists collected useful information on Queensland Fruit Fly management and familiarised themselves with the landscape of the Goulburn Valley and Sunraysia for the purpose of mapping and Area Wide Management of Queensland Fruit Fly.