`Olive Fly Adds to Andalusian Woes

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Olive Fly Adds to Andalusian Woes

Oct. 17, 2011
By Julie Butler

Recent News

Lack of rain is not the only rea­son fore­casts of another bumper year of olive oil pro­duc­tion are viewed cau­tiously in Spain – the olive fruit fly has reared its fear­some head ear­lier and in greater num­bers.

Thanks to a rel­a­tively milder sum­mer, Bac­tro­cera oleae has already hit much of the country’s olive oil sec­tor with vigor.

In the Des­ig­na­tion of Ori­gin Sierra de Segura, in north-east­ern Andalu­sia, the num­ber of olive flies trapped dur­ing recent field sam­pling var­ied between three and fif­teen times higher than in pre­vi­ous years.

In a state­ment, the DO said that while the norm for the area was three gen­er­a­tions of the fly per year, 4 – 5 gen­er­a­tions were likely this year. The increase in the olive fly pop­u­la­tion and ear­lier onset of the infes­ta­tion have resulted in a tripling of the area that will be cov­ered by con­trol mea­sures includ­ing aer­ial spray­ing. By Sep­tem­ber 16 last year, just over 10,710 hectares had been treated in the local area, com­pared to 30,810 hectares this year.

The DO has urged olive grow­ers not to resort to indi­vid­ual mea­sures, say­ing that col­lec­tive con­trol is more effec­tive and cheaper. It lamented that gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies for the treat­ment now cover only about a third of the cost, down from 75 per cent in the last two years.

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Andalusia’s regional gov­ern­ment pro­vides sub­si­dies for olive fly con­trol mea­sures from June to Novem­ber. This applies to aer­ial spray­ing except where more than a quar­ter of a plan­ta­tion is ded­i­cated to organic cul­ti­va­tion, in which case ground treat­ment must be used. And Extremadura’s regional gov­ern­ment, which also sub­sidises con­trol, has this year des­ig­nated 175,000 hectares of olive plan­ta­tions as sub­ject to mon­i­tor­ing and treat­ment.

Con­trol sta­tions in 190 loca­tions have been set up to assess adult fly pop­u­la­tions via McPahil and sticky yel­low chro­motropic traps. Mean­while, lar­vae num­bers in olives are being assessed by biol­o­gists. Where deemed nec­es­sary, treat­ment is via low-vol­ume, large drop aer­ial spray­ing of a tra­di­tional insec­ti­ci­dal bait.

In the Castilla-La Manch region, 54,167 hectares will be sprayed this year, mainly in the provinces of Toledo and Ciu­dad Real, where there is a total of 203,717 hectares of olive plan­ta­tions. Agri­cul­tural lobby group ASAJA has called on Castilla-La Mancha’s agri­cul­ture min­is­ter to source an eco­log­i­cal spray to also ensure erad­i­ca­tion in areas of organic pro­duc­tion – a total of 42,449 hectares.

Also see: Andalu­sian Farm­ers Bat­tling Fruit Fly



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