Sunraysia table grape grower Peter Argiro has built a new spray rig to apply bait sprays that will reduce his pest management costs in reducing fruit fly at his family vineyard. “We have 100 hectares of vines here in Merbein. To bait the whole area, we needed a much faster and much more economical way of applying bait than foliar spraying every vine from the tractor,” Mr Argiro said. “We had an understanding of the units out there but hadn’t found something to meet our needs, so we decided to design our own rig.”

The next generation grower was looking for a spray unit with the capabilities that would meet a number of requirements. “The main thing was making it very adjustable, to fit through all our different vine canopies. Once we had the design, it took us about four hours work to hook up a small tank and electric pump to arms that we can adjust.”

“We should be able to get across large areas very quickly now, at much less cost than before, and once we made the decision to make baiting more efficient, we actually designed and built this really quickly and cheaply. We already had all the parts,” Argiro said.

The new unit will be featured at a field day event being held in early May. Under a Hort Innovation funded table grape project, the Australian Table Grape Association are collaborating with the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area to run a field day that will be repeated six times across the region.

The Hort Innovation funded project coordinator Alison MacGregor, is helping to organise the field days and is well known for her passion of spray application and is helping table grape growers to think about faster, simpler and cheaper designs for spray baits.

“Growers are great inventors. Their designs are so practical. They are inspired by personal experience and sharing of ideas. Peter Argiro’s rig is an example of that. I love the simplicity of it, I hope the field days inspire growers to go away and think about what rig design could work best for them on their property,” she said.

Australian Table Grape Association Chief Executive Officer Jeff Scott wants to reinforce the importance of these fruit fly field days. “Fruit fly management needs to be a part of every growers pest management routine and growers need to attend one of these field days so they can see firsthand what spraying option is best for their property, Bio security risks are real, and growers need to be proactive to protect the industry we have all worked so hard to establish,” Mr Scott said.

The field days are the Wednesday 1, Thursday 2 and Friday 3 of May and are supported by the Australian Table Grape Association and Hort Innovation. – Image: wikipedia