FRUIT TREES KILLED
THREAT TO IRRIGATION AREAS
SYDNEY, August 1
Tens of thousands of fruit trees have died of salt poisoning on the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Areas and thousands more are so sick that they cannot recover.
The salt has been brought up by the constantly rising water table, which, in many parts, is only a few feet below the surface and well within the feeding area of tree roots. Already nearly one-sixth of all the trees producing fruit on the areas five years ago are dead. The Irrigation Commission decided recently to curtail rice production on the assumption that the water poured into the rice fields every year was the main cause of the trouble, This decision affected 125 farms, the owners of which were instructed to reduce their sown acreages by 25 per cent this year and a greater percentage in the. next two years until they went entirely out of rice production. Their incomes reduced by £40,000 a year, the rice men decided to fight, and so active has been their campaign that two factions have developed on the areas. In an effort to ascertain how far rice-growing might be a factor, the Irrigation Commission recently detailed a skilled officer to investigate, It took him only a few weeks to decide, and it Was as a result of his findings that the decision to cut down oil lice production was made. The growers held meetings, and a deputation was sent to Sydney to put their case before the acting-Premier, Mr. Baddeley. He instructed the commission to hold its hand. Mr. Baddeley sent a geologist to the area to make an independent survey. During the Week-end, Mr. Baddeley made a tour of the affected areas, and, after an intimate discussion of the problem with »the executive of the Rice Growers' Association, told them he was prepared to submit the whole matter to a body of independent experts and act on its decision,
"If the decision means the elimination of certain farms, as recortv mended by the commission;" the spokesman for the growers, Mr. A. D. Mackellar, said, "we shall take the matter to the Courts." . Last year 73,000 tons of rice, Worth £900,000, was produced on the Murrumbidgee irrigation Areas. Nearly £2,500,000 Worth of fruit and vegetables are grown there yearly, and if the salting of the land continues at the i present rate this total must shrink appreciably.
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SALT POISONING, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 183, 4 August 1945
SALT POISONING Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 183, 4 August 1945
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