The Marshall Liberal Government is providing $70,000 for ground-breaking research to assist with the long-term recovery of fruit trees impacted by the devastating Cudlee Creek bushfires.
The State Government, through the South Australian Research and Development Institute, has worked closely with industry to tailor a research project to monitor burnt fruit trees and assess recovery over the next two years.
The funding complements the Marshall Liberal Government’s $350 million stimulus package announced this week to help drive the South Australian economy in the wake of ongoing impacts of bushfires, drought and coronavirus.
Through the research project, there will be initial assessments of different type of orchard burn in the Adelaide Hills, identification of key varieties and rootstock for further assessment, regular monitoring of tree recovery and physiological indicators and investigation of different tree management options.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the research project will assist fire-affected producers to make better informed decisions about the future of their fruit trees.
"Following the devastating bushfires through the Adelaide Hills, many primary producers are faced with long-term recovery and critical decisions about the future of their business," said Minister Whetstone.
"We want to give those growers as much data as possible about the impact of the fire on their fruit trees.
"Our primary industries are the backbone of regional South Australia and we will do everything we can to help businesses and the communities that depend on them to recover from these devastating bushfires."
Member for Kavel Dan Cregan said the research project is an important step in supporting recovery for Adelaide Hills’ growers.
"The horticulture industries are critical to our Adelaide Hills economy and we’ve seen widespread devastation to our communities from the Cudlee Creek bushfires," said Mr Cregan.
"The South Australian apple, pear and cherry industries have raised concerns about the current lack of scientific knowledge around the impact of fire on fruit trees.
"If a grower decides to remove fire-affected fruit trees, they may not have another viable crop for up to 10 years so this $70,000 research project will give them additional tools for their decision-making process.
"Removing trees and replanting is an extremely costly exercise and we want our growers to have access to the best available scientific information while making these decisions.
"The $70,000 funding will help expand our knowledge and build resilience for the industry against future bushfire events."