NORTH Coast stone fruit growers now have an absolute timetable to work to before the fruit fly spray fenthion is banned - next October, 2015.
But Newrybar orchardist Robert Hood said the ban on the low-grade organophosphate would make operations "very difficult" in future because no alternative effective control for the large Queensland fruit fly was now available.
What was a large and profitable region for growing early stone fruit has dwindled to just 10 producers - all of them struggling, said Robert.
"If we were allowed to spray fenthion four to six weeks before harvest, we would retain fruit and there would be zero residue," he suggested.
"I think we will pay the price for this ban in the long run."
While Robert and his wife Robin have netted for fruit fly, and installed fruit fly traps in their 3ha orchard, they said nothing replaced the effectiveness of fenthion, which killed fruit fly larvae even under the skin of affected produce.
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority said that in making its final decision on fenthion, it took into account submissions from governments, growers and the community.
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