STERILE fruit flies are falling from the sky over Adelaide.
It is a bold to play to reduce the impact of the devastating Queensalnd fruit fly (Qfly).
An industry-led research collaboration is trialling a technique, which has been used in California and Guatemala.
Flies that mate with the hundreds and thousands of those dropped in the sterile batch will not be able to reproduce.
“The new sterile insect technology (SIT) could be a game changer for Australian horticulture,” said Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.
“Less fruit flies equals more fruit with less pesticide, great crops and profits for farmers.
“While SIT has been effective in California and Guatemala, this project is breaking new ground with some of Australia’s leading fruit fly experts on board.
“This trial is the first step in the process, trialling the equipment used to deploy the flies from a plane, following the extensive baiting and trapping to ensure its effectiveness.
A release of two million male sterile fruit flies is planned for April.
Qfly costs Australia’s $10.3 billion horticultural sector $300 million a year in lost markets.
The aerial deplyment was part of SITPlus - a $45 million research and development partnership set to transform Qfly management in Australia.
The Federal Rural R and D for Profit program provided $2.35m for a project led by CSIRO to create optimal conditions for SIT fly releases.
Funding partners include Hort Innovation (through levies and matching Government funding) Macquarie University, the New South Wales and South Australian Governments, CSIRO, the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research, the Coalition Government’s Rural R and D for Profit program and other levy paying industries.
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