- Pollination, pest monitoring and fertiliser planning is contracted out. Remainder of work is completed by owners.
- Tree spaced 6m X 3m and 8m X 4m
- Managed in rows
- Structural tree balance is the main priority when pruning followed by management of crop load, light interception, increasing access for picking and spraying and removal of dead or diseased material.
- Trees are structurally pruned twice a year. Spring structural cuts shape trees and they are revisited in autumn. About 30% of the canopy is removed each year.
- Flower pruning is carried out once a year and fruit thinning twice if required.
Soil and soil moisture management
- Orchard is predominately sandy loam.
- Leaf litter is the main mulch and dominate ground covering under trees.
- Soil moisture is monitored using tensiometers at 0-15cm and 15-30cm. A trigger point of -20-30kPa is used at 0-15cm depth for irrigation.
- The orchard is 100% irrigated with ground based micro sprinklers.
- At peak summer it is common to irrigate for 4 hours per irrigation event more than twice a week using sprinklers with a 7m diameter that deliver 50l/hr (2mm per irrigation event)
- Sprinkler heads are chosen based on soil type, tree size and age and by tree variety.
- Pump pressure, flow characteristics, control valves and pipework at checked at least annually.
- Pollinizer varieties include Bacon, Ettinger and Zutano at a percentage of 7-10%
- Honeybee hives are brought onto the orchard at 1-5% flowering at a rate of 3-4 hives per hectare. Hives are located evenly through block but in wind protected and sunny positions.
Soil and fertiliser application
- Soil tests are carried out in March. Leaf tests are carried out in January, July and October. Leaf test results are pretty stable year to year and within desired range. Soil levels are generally low for target ranges.
- A consultant provides a fertiliser plan based on test results and crop loading.
- The majority of fertiliser is applied by fertigation with ground and foliar application also being used.
- Boron fertilisers are applied as ground application and foliar every year.
- Calcium fertiliser is applied as ground and foliar application every year.
- Fertiliser in some form is applied 12 times a year.
Tree health management
- All trees have foliar phosphonate application from December on and all trees also get injected in autumn. Root testing is conducted to verify applications have been successful.
- No frost protection is in place in the orchard.