Most positive influence on orchard productivity
- Careful management. Chasing best practice.
Most negative influence on orchard productivity
- No real negative that can think of.
- Pollination, pruning, pest monitoring and spraying are contracted out. All spraying is done by helicopter with trees pruned to aid good spray penetration. A consultant was originally used for fertiliser planning but once stable results were achieved the owner started doing planning themselves using soil and leaf tests to refine applications. Remainder of work is completed by owners. Don’t use sunny or plant growth regulators on orchard.
- Tree spaced 8m X 8m
- Managed in rows
- Max height of trees is 8m
- Priority when pruning is light interception followed by structural tree balance, increasing access for picking and spraying, removal of dead or diseased material and management of crop load.
- Trees are structurally pruned once a year in autumn. About 25% of the canopy is removed each year.
- Flower pruning is used on excessively flowering trees and often done at harvest following behind pickers.
Soil and soil moisture management
- Orchard is predominately sandy loam.
- The dominant ground cover is grass with some leaf litter and avocado pruning also used to mulch trees.
- Soil moisture has historically not been monitored on the orchard but installation of sensor is currently underway along with the metering of water use.
- The orchard is 100% irrigated ground based micro sprinklers.
- At peak summer it is common to irrigate for 2 hours per irrigation event twice a week using sprinklers with a 6m diameter that deliver 30l/hr (1.1mm per irrigation event). Often no irrigation is required until December.
- Sprinkler heads that distribute different volumes over different area are chosen based on tree size and age as well as health.
- Pump pressure and flow characteristics are checked annually with ongoing inspection of pipework on orchard. Sprinklers heads are monitored regularly and serviced if required to maintain proper function.
- Pollinizer species include Bacon, Zutano and Fuerte at a percentage of 7-10%
- Hives are brought onto the orchard at about 10% flowering at a rate of 3-4 honey bee hives per hectare and 10 bumble bee hives for the whole orchard. Native bees are seen on the orchard prior to introducing honey bees. Hives are located in sunny spot central to block and evenly distributed through orchard.
Soil and fertiliser application
- Soil and leaf tests are carried out once a year in March.
- Fertiliser plan is done by grower based on test results and crop loading.
- All fertiliser applications are made using hard fertiliser to the ground. While the orchard does have fertigation capability it is not used as grower has not got confidence in approach. Prefers to see fertiliser on ground and not rely on irrigation system where its possible to have damaged sprinkler heads etc.
- Boron fertilisers are applied as ground application every year.
- Lime and Gypsum (Calcium) fertiliser is applied when deficient
- Fertiliser is applied 12 times a year.
Tree health management
- Trees are injected once a year ion autumn with phosphonate with root testing not conducted to verify concentrations in roots.
- No frost protection is in place in the orchard.