Most positive influence on orchard
- Attention to detail and timing of operations to suit the tree phenology.
Most negative influence on orchard
- When attention to detail and timing slips.
- Spraying is the only service contracted out. The remainder of work is completed by orchard staff.
- A weather station in on-orchard with rainfall, temperature, wind and relative humidity used to inform orchard practices.
- Tree spaced 6m X 3.5m
- Managed in rows
- Max height of trees in 4-5m
- The main priority when pruning is removal of dead or diseased material followed by light interception, crop load management, structural tree balance and access for picking and spraying.
- Trees are pruned more than twice a year with main structural pruning happening in spring.
- An estimated 25% of the canopy is removed each year.
Soil and soil moisture management
- Orchard is predominately sandy loam.
- Leaf litter, avocado pruning and commercial mulch are all used to mulch trees.
- Soil moisture is monitored using 21 tensiometers across 14 sites at depths of 15-30cm and 30-60cm. A reading of -15 to -20kPa at 15-30cm deep is used as a trigger point to irrigate as the majority of the orchard is on drippers.
- The orchard is 100% irrigated with drippers and ground based micro sprinklers used.
- At peak summer it is common to irrigate as below:
- Sprinklers: 20 minutes of irrigation through 7m diameter 70L/hr sprinklers (0.6mm per irrigation event) applied every 2 days. Tensiometers determine whether more water is required in the driest of months.
- Driplines: During the driest summer months we irrigate for 4 hours every second day applying, dependent on soil / aspect variations, 28lts to 84lts per tree (0.73lts to 2.18lts/m² or 0.73mm to 2.18mm per irrigation event).
- Pollinizer species include Bacon, Ettinger, Zutano and Edranol at a percentage of 10-20%
- Honey bee hives are brought onto the orchard at 10-20% flowering at a rate of 5-7 hives per hectare. Hives are placed in groups in open areas that get good early morning sun. Orchard is divided into zones and there is one group of hives per zone.
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.
- Fertiliser is applied through fertigation, ground application of solid fertiliser and foliar application. Fertigation is the most common application method.
- Boron fertilisers are applied as both ground and foliar application every year.
- Calcium fertiliser is applied every year as a solid ground application.
- Fertiliser in some form is applied 20 times a year.
Tree health management
- Trees have phosphonate applied as both injections and foliar application more than twice a year. Root testing is not carried out to test root phosphonate levels.
- No frost protection is in place in the orchard.