Most positive influence on orchard
- Northland temperatures are a big help. It is rare to get a frost on the orchard.
Most negative influence on orchard
- Pests like six-spotted mite get out of hand very quickly if not controlled immediately. Used to somewhat ingnore six-spotted mite in Bay of Plenty but deadly to trees if you do that in Northland.
- Pest monitoring and fertiliser planning is contracted out. Remainder of work is completed by owners.
- Trees spaced 4.7m X 4.7m
- Managed in rows
- Max height of trees is 5-6m
- Access for picking and spraying is the main priority when pruning followed by light interception, structural tree balance and removing dead or diseased material and managing crop load. Crop load is not managed at all.
- Trees are structurally pruned once a year in spring and trees are never flower pruned or have fruit load managed prior to harvest.
- On average a third of the canopy of each tree is removed every year.
Soil and soil moisture management
- Orchard is predominately sandy loam with patches of sand and sandy clay loam.
- Leaf litter and avocado pruning is the dominant cover under trees.
- Soil moisture is monitored using a combination of hand held garden soil moisture probe and digging through mulch to look at soil moisture levels. The hand held probe has a scale from 0 to 10 and irrigation generally goes on when sensor reads 3.
- The orchard is 100% irrigated with ground based micro sprinklers.
- At peak summer it is common to irrigate for 10 hours per irrigation event twice a week using sprinklers with a 4m diameter that deliver 25l/hr (20mm per irrigation event)
- Sprinkler heads are varied based on soil type.
- Pipework including condition of mainlines, sub-mains and lateral pipework have been inspected in the last year.
- Fuerte is the only B-type pollinizer species in the orchard but there is also some Reed trees. Pollinisers make up 1-5% of the trees on the orchard.
- Hive are brought onto the orchard at 10-20% flowering at a rate of 5-7 hives per hectare. Hives are located wherever is accessible (random) through block.
Soil and fertiliser application
- Soil and leaf tests are carried out twice a year in April and October.
- A consultant provided a fertiliser plan based on test results and crop loading.
- Common to have 4 foliar fertiliser applications between June and September and 8 solid fertiliser applications to the ground over the year. Some additional ground sprays are done for soil fertility.
- Foliar boron is applied every year.
- Foliar calcium fertiliser is applied when deficient.
- Fertiliser in some form is applied 15 times a year.
Tree health management
- Trees are injected once a year in May/June with phosphonate with root testing conducted to verify application has been successful.
- No frost protection is in place in the orchard.