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Flying-foxes are considered by the fruit industry to be the main vertebrate pest in coastal areas of New South Wales and South East Queensland. From 1995 to 2000, the annual average gross market losses to the market value of fruit due to flying-foxes, in New South Wales, was estimated at $10.4 million per year. Exclusion netting has proven to be the most effective method of protecting fruit crops from flying-foxes. However, concerns regarding the economic viability of netting have prevented its use in areas where market returns are relatively low, such as the Camden district of NSW. To test the viability of exclusion netting in the Camden district, an economic model, developed for the North Coast was applied under local conditions. The model showed that to obtain a greater than 5% return on the capital invested in netting, crop losses needed to average 15%-30% annually over a ten year period at current gross market returns of $6.00 - $8.00 per tray. For returns greater than 10%, losses needed to be in the 20% - 30% range. The average annual crop loss from flying-foxes in the Camden district is estimated at 10% - 12%. Cheaper crop protection methods are needed for coastal fruit producers that cannot economically justify the high cost of exclusion netting. The methods need to be scientifically assessed and implemented as part of a sustainable strategy.

Anon. 1890. Orchard Pests. Experiments on flying-foxes with explosives. Agricultural Gazette of New South Wales 1:105-107.
Dixon, J. M. (ed.). 1976 Placental mammals of Australia, John Gould, Macmillan, South Melbourne.
Eby, P. 1995 The biology and management of flying-foxes in NSW. Species management report No.18. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville, NSW.
Lucas, T. P. 1896. The flying-fox: its habits and deprecations. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 12: 49-53.
Middleton, S. 2000. Fruit tree behaviour under protective structures. Benefits of Protective Structures Seminar, 4 August 2000. Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, NSW Agriculture. Camden, NSW.
Rigden, P., Page, J., Chapman, J. 2000 To net or not to net? Flying-fox control in orchards through netting protection. Queensland Horticultural Institute, Queensland Department of Primary Industries. Nambour, Qld.
Slack, J. 1990 Flying-fox Workshop Proceedings, Wollongbar Agricultural Institute. NSW Agriculture and Fisheries. Wollongbar, NSW.
Slack, J. and Reilly, T. 1990. Cost and returns of netting low-chill stonefruit orchards. Pp 61-65 in Flying-fox Workshop Proceedings, Wollongbar Agricultural Institute, ed J. Slack, NSW Agriculture and Fisheries. Wollongbar, NSW.
Slack, J. and Ullio, L. 2000. NSW stonefruit. Deciduous fruit program. Pp 28-29 in Farms Budget Handbook 2000, NSW Agriculture. Orange, NSW.
Tidemann, C., Kelson, S. and Jamieson, G. 1997. Flying-fox damage to orchard fruit in Australia - incidence, extent and economic impact. Australian Biologist. 10 (4): 179-186.
Ullio, L. 1992. Flying-foxes and fruit growing around Sydney. Pp 8-13 in Proceedings of a Fruit Crop Protection Seminar. edited by K. Blade, New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. Turramurra, NSW.
Waples, K. 2002. Review of the NPWS policy on the mitigation of commercial crop damage by flying-foxes. Pp 39-46 in Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox as a Threatened Species in NSW, edited by P. Eby and D. Lunney. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW.
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References

Anon. 1890. Orchard Pests. Experiments on flying-foxes with explosives. Agricultural Gazette of New South Wales 1:105-107.
Dixon, J. M. (ed.). 1976 Placental mammals of Australia, John Gould, Macmillan, South Melbourne.
Eby, P. 1995 The biology and management of flying-foxes in NSW. Species management report No.18. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville, NSW.
Lucas, T. P. 1896. The flying-fox: its habits and deprecations. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 12: 49-53.
Middleton, S. 2000. Fruit tree behaviour under protective structures. Benefits of Protective Structures Seminar, 4 August 2000. Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, NSW Agriculture. Camden, NSW.
Rigden, P., Page, J., Chapman, J. 2000 To net or not to net? Flying-fox control in orchards through netting protection. Queensland Horticultural Institute, Queensland Department of Primary Industries. Nambour, Qld.
Slack, J. 1990 Flying-fox Workshop Proceedings, Wollongbar Agricultural Institute. NSW Agriculture and Fisheries. Wollongbar, NSW.
Slack, J. and Reilly, T. 1990. Cost and returns of netting low-chill stonefruit orchards. Pp 61-65 in Flying-fox Workshop Proceedings, Wollongbar Agricultural Institute, ed J. Slack, NSW Agriculture and Fisheries. Wollongbar, NSW.
Slack, J. and Ullio, L. 2000. NSW stonefruit. Deciduous fruit program. Pp 28-29 in Farms Budget Handbook 2000, NSW Agriculture. Orange, NSW.
Tidemann, C., Kelson, S. and Jamieson, G. 1997. Flying-fox damage to orchard fruit in Australia - incidence, extent and economic impact. Australian Biologist. 10 (4): 179-186.
Ullio, L. 1992. Flying-foxes and fruit growing around Sydney. Pp 8-13 in Proceedings of a Fruit Crop Protection Seminar. edited by K. Blade, New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. Turramurra, NSW.
Waples, K. 2002. Review of the NPWS policy on the mitigation of commercial crop damage by flying-foxes. Pp 39-46 in Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox as a Threatened Species in NSW, edited by P. Eby and D. Lunney. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, NSW.
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