Most positive influence on orchard performance
- Biggest positive influence probably location. There is one block that is quite wind exposed that has lower yield and packout but generally spring conditions are good with property not too high or low lying with favourable temperatures. Neighbours generally always have good set as well.
Most negative influence on orchard performance
- Wind is the biggest negative. There is a combination of kiwifruit on flatter sections of property and avocados on the more sloped sections making shelter difficult for some avocado blocks. Height of trees has been reduced to bring more under shelter but some blocks still take a pounding.
- Pollination, fertiliser planning and some of pruning is contracted out. Remainder of work is completed by owners.
- Tree spaced 10m X 10m
- Managed as individuals
- Max height of trees is 8m. Missed a year of pruning due to a number of reasons and some water shoots got a bit out of control so now bringing those back down.
- 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 structurally pruned once a year with larger cuts made in autumn depending on crop remaining on trees. About 25% of the canopy is removed each year.
- Flower pruning or fruit removal is not normally carried out.
Soil and soil moisture management
- Orchard is predominately sandy loam.
- Leaf mulch is the dominant ground cover under trees with some avocado pruning making up the mulch.
- The orchard is 100% irrigated with ground based micro sprinklers.
- The bore is old and struggles to keep up with water demand of avocado and kiwifruit. At peak delivery it can produce enough water to irrigate the equivalent of 10mm a week.
- Sprinkler heads that distribute different volumes over different area are chosen based on tree size and age.
- The condition of pipe work and control valves has been checked in the last year for proper function. Sprinklers heads are monitored regularly.
- Pollinizer were not part of the original planting but have been incorporated sporadically over the years to have about 1 in 30 trees is a pollinizer.
- Honey bee hives are brought onto the orchard at a rate of about 8 honey bee hives per hectare and 2 bumble bee hives per hectare.
Soil and fertiliser application
- Soil and leaf tests are carried out once a year in April.
- A consultant provides a fertiliser plan based on test results and crop loading.
- Trees make up all the shelters and are about 8m high on most boundaries. Some boundaries with kiwifruit don’t have shelter.
Tree health management
- Trees have injected with phosphonate once a year.
- No frost protection system is used in the orchard.