Most positive influence on orchard performance
- Location is the biggest positive with good soils and climate.
Most negative influence on orchard performance
- No obvious negative.
- Pollination, pruning and fertiliser planning, pest monitoring and spraying is contracted out. Remainder of work is completed by owners. Work full time in another job so contract out as much work as possible. Orchard is a bee dump with hives being stored on the orchard most of the year.
- Tree spaced 12m X 12m offset
- Managed as individuals
- Max height of trees is 8m
- Light interception is the main priority when pruning followed by structural tree balance, management of crop load, increasing access for picking and spraying and removal of dead or diseased material.
- Trees are normally structurally pruned in spring but were pruned in autumn last year to allow for later harvest. About 30% of the canopy is removed each year.
- Flower pruning or fruit load management is not carried out.
Soil and soil moisture management
- Orchard is predominately sandy loam.
- Leaf litter or mulch is the dominant ground cover under trees, avocado pruning making up the mulch.
- Soil moisture is not monitored and the orchard isn’t irrigated.
- Pollinizer species include Bacon, Ettinger and Zutano at a percentage of 7-10%. Recently planted more with majority only 2 years old.
- Orchard is a bee dump so there are some hives all year round. Through flowering there is greater than 12 hives per hectare. Hives are located on the Northern edge of trees in open area with easy access.
Soil and fertiliser application
- Soil and leaf tests are carried out once a year in March/April.
- A consultant provides a fertiliser plan based on test results and crop loading.
- Majority of fertiliser is applied as ground application by hand but some are applied by foliar application.
- Boron fertilisers are applied as ground application and foliar every year.
- Lime and Gypsum (Calcium) fertiliser is applied only when deficient.
- Fertiliser in some form is applied 8 times a year.
- Shelter is on South and West only with predominant wind from the West.
Tree health management
- Trees have only been injected only once in their lives.
- If looking like frost then low-biuret urea will be applied.