The increasing need for netting fruit orchards against bat and bird damage and the increasing problems in affording netting
John Gough, 2002. "The increasing need for netting fruit orchards against bat and bird damage and the increasing problems in affording netting", Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox: As a Threatened Species in NSW, Peggy Eby, Daniel Lunney
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Exclusion netting systems are the only humane method for preventing flying-fox damage to orchards, especially during seasons when natural food is in short supply.
As the forests that provide natural food are eliminated, and flying-fox pressure on orchards therefore increases, the need for netting becomes more acute. However, poor returns make it hard for the grower, especially the small-scale grower, to meet the cost of exclusion netting. Low interest loans that cover the cost of netting are available through the NSW government's Rural Assistance Scheme. However, the criteria for assessing eligibility for the loans are too limiting and should be altered. In addition, fruit growers find it difficult to get accurate, up to date information on netting. A netting hotline should be established to provide growers with information on net design, how to reduce the cost of netting their crops and contact details for contractors and suppliers. Finally, flying-foxes are important to the environment. We need to develop programs that educate people to conserve flying-foxes, rather than exterminate them.