Most positive influence on orchard performance
- The most positive influence is location and in terms of management, I believe it is the fertiliser management.
Most negative influence on orchard performance
- The most negative influence is seasonal weather events. Particularly in spring.
- Pollination, fertiliser planning and spraying is contracted out. Remainder of work is completed by owners.
- Tree spacing a bit variable but average is about 12m X 12m
- Managed in rows
- Max height of trees is 5-6m
- Structural tree balance is the main priority when pruning followed by, managing crop load, access for picking and spraying, removing dead or diseased material and light interception.
- Structural pruning is carried out once a year in autumn.
- Flower pruning back to healthy leaf is carried out when trees are looking stressed
- Fruit thinning is carried out as well when leaves are slow to develop or there is no leaf on limb supporting /protecting fruit.
- About 25% or the canopy is removed when trees are pruned.
Soil and soil moisture management
- Orchard is predominately sandy loam (Waihi ash).
- Leaf litter, avocado pruning and shelter pruning are all used to mulch trees as well as other green waste from home and other sources.
- Soil moisture is not monitored and the orchard is not irrigated.
- No pollinisers are present in the orchard.
- Hives are brought onto the orchard at 1-5% flowering at a rate of 3-4 hives per hectare. Hives are located where ever is accessible (random) in the orchard.
Soil and fertiliser application
- Soil and leaf tests are carried out once a year in May.
- A consultant provided a fertiliser plan based on test results and crop loading.
- All fertiliser applications are made via ground application.
- Boron fertiliser is applied to the ground when deficient.
- Calcium fertiliser is applied to the ground when deficient.
- Fertiliser is applied about 8 times a year.
Tree health management
- Trees are injected with phosphonate once a year in August with root testing conducted to verify application has been successful.
- No frost protection is in place in the orchard.