2023 Future Orchards Spring Series – what we have seen and heard so farNews
This week the Future Orchards® Walks Spring Series are taking place across Australia with the Batlow, Southern Victoria and Goulburn Valley walks still to come over the next two days.
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During this series, Ross Wilson (AgFirst) guides discussions on the southern loop encompassing Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and Southern Victoria, where he is joined by Garrett Bishop (GS Long, Washington US).
Together, they delve into practical strategies aimed at optimising tree nutrition and identifying disorders in the field. With the current juncture being pivotal for crop loading, the discourse centres around hot topics in the field, exploring strategies to establish and attain optimal crop loads. The implications on size, color, fruit firmness, and Brix are thoroughly examined.
Simultaneously, on the northern loop covering Stanthorpe, Orange, Batlow and the Goulburn Valley, Craig Hornblow (AgFirst) engages in discussions alongside Suzanne Bishop (Allan Bros, Washington US). Their focus revolves around optimal nutrition and crop load management within forward-looking orchard canopies. Additionally, they explore the strategic utilisation, as opposed to dependency, on plant growth regulators.
Nannup, Western Australia
The Southern loop kicked off at Nannup Fresh Fruit (Mark, Catherine and James Scott’s orchard) with discussions focussing on the management on bitter pit and lenticel breakdown in Nicoter (Kanzi ®) and strategies to improve packout in ANABP-01 (Bravo®). A focus on balancing soil and leaf nutrient levels, optimising cropload, controlling vigour, enhancing colour development and picking at optimal maturity were all discussed as key factors in improving outcomes on these blocks.
The start of the Northern loop saw a number of growers visit Fonlea Orchards hosted by Trent Vedelago. Discussion focussed heavily on maintaining yields of older Cripps Pink blocks as well as improving their colour and packouts. Nutrition, vigour control and optimising croploading were key discussion topics. Discussions finished comparing two CIVG198 (Modi ®) and the challenges faced in filling the canopy on an M9 rootstock in the growing conditions with one block close to full and the other still needing more work.
Orange, New South Wales
The Orange orchard walk was hosted by Ian and Prue Pearce on their orchard, Stoneleigh. The focus of this walk was centred around balancing size, colour and cropload to achieve high class 1 packouts. Strategies discussed included balancing nutrition, minimising in-field stress and establishing optimal croploads early.
Adelaide Hills, South Australia
The Adelaide Hills orchard walk was hosted by Noel Mason and looked at their approach to nutrition, growth regulators and optimising cropload across a range of blocks. Ross and Noel had worked together to evaluate all of the inputs for each block viewed on the day and compared it to the crop removal amount for last year for each nutrient. Contrasting this with recent soil tests, a seasonal strategy and plan for seasonal nutritional inputs was able to be made in the field.
APAL wishes to thanks all of the host growers for being so open with the challenges on their orchards and sharing their data with the groups.