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Media Release
The Hon. Dr Sharman Stone MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

30 July 2004

New frost alerting service for northern Victoria

A new frost alerting service for fruit growers in northern Victoria will start from this Sunday [1 August 2004].

Dr Sharman Stone, Federal Member for Murray who also has Ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, said new service resulted from the particularly severe frosts that were experienced across the district last year.

"On 28 September last year, the Goulburn Valley recorded its worst frost in over 26 years at -3.5 degrees Celsius. It burned 100 per cent of fresh and canning apricots of 95 per cent of growers in the region," Dr Stone said.

"The new service will provide fruit growers with detailed information on the likelihood of frost over the major fruit growing areas of Victoria at the time of the year when crops are most vulnerable to frost damage.

"It was developed by the Bureau after meeting with representatives of the Northern Victorian Fruitgrowers Association and Victorian Peach and Apricot Growers Association earlier this year.

"The new service will be available via the web to members of the Northern Victorian Fruitgrowers and the Victorian Peach and Apricot Growers Associations. Alternatively anyone can receive the service by email or fax for a fee of $50 per annum. To subscribe to the service, please contact the Bureau on (03) 9669 4984."

Dr Stone said a Frost Alert will be issued whenever the Bureau issues a frost warning for the affected areas and include a graph of the expected temperature on an hourly basis for Yarrawonga and Shepparton. It will also include information on the local factors that influence the formation of frost.

"This will allow subscribers to easily view how the temperature is expected to fall during the night, how low it will go, and for how long the temperature will be below zero. It will enable fruit growers to compare the forecast temperature graphs with the temperature in their own fields and make local adjustments," Dr Stone said.

"This is very important since temperatures can vary from paddock to paddock quite markedly, and by combining their local knowledge with the detailed forecasts growers will have a very good idea of the potential for damaging frost in their own area."
Commonwealth of Australia