John Wilton

About John Wilton

Horticultural Consultant, Agfirst, New Zealand

The Effects of Climate Change

High temperatures and extreme weather this season have focused attention on the need to understand the impact of – and how to adapt orchards to - climate change. AgFirst’s John Wilton reviews the latest research on what can be expected as temperatures rise. The events of this summer with its extreme heat during January leave [...]

By |April 10th, 2019|Climate change|

Summer management for quality

As the temperatures in the orchard start to rise, AgFirst’s John Wilton looks at how to minimise sunburn, avoid nutrition-related problems and improve colour towards lifting quality and packouts at harvest. By now, the first pass of hand thinning should have been completed. In order to produce high quality fruit, it is necessary to groom [...]

Growing a quality crop with limited water

With growers looking to set up their crop for the coming season with the possibility of limited water, AgFirst’s John Wilton explores ways to grow marketable crops in a dry year; methods that are also relevant if water is not an issue. High quality requires thinning to well-spaced singles. Matching crop load to [...]

What do packouts tell us about management?

The essential ingredient for increasing low consumer apple consumption in Australia is delivering a high-quality apple. As part of the Hort Innovation-funded Future Orchards® program, AgFirst’s John Wilton helps us to understand the myriad factors – from variety choice and maturity at harvest to storage technique – that affect fruit quality, and explains how growers [...]

Fruit quality for 2019 starts now

The theme the Future Orchards® team will address over the next 12 months is ‘quality’. Quality fruit production requires a long-term plan; it doesn’t just happen at harvest and post-harvest. As this article will be read in the later part of the 2018 harvest, the time is right to start the quality discussion during the [...]

By |April 20th, 2018|Fruit quality and monitoring, Future Orchards|

Harvest with customer requirements in mind

With harvest approaching, the emphasis in the orchard has to be on how to obtain the best market result for the crop we have managed to produce. The Fuji on the left were chemically thinned with Benzyladenine and consequently had a lighter crop load and better fruit colour than the Fuji on the right, [...]

Setting the orchard up for the 2018 crop

AgFirst's John Wilton looks at what to do now to prepare for the 2018 crop covering thinning, setting crop loads, summer pruning and tree vigour management. Healthy Jazz buds. By now it should be possible to see the level of fruitset for the coming crop and determine how effective chemical thinning programs have [...]

Pros and cons of club varieties

After exploring how to choose a new variety last issue with Steve Spark, AgFirst’s John Wilton shows us the ins and outs of managed club varieties.  High colour sports are now raising colour standards: Lady in Red is on the left, standard Cripps Pink on the right. Since the Australian apple industry trade [...]

By |August 1st, 2017|Future Orchards, Varieties and rootstock|

An exposé on pome fruit rootstocks

The Future Orchards® theme in the next 12 months is looking at ‘future trees’ - this article is the first discussing this new theme and focuses below the ground on rootstocks. For well over a century and, in the case of Europe many centuries, apples and pears have been grown on clonal rootstocks. In that [...]

By |April 1st, 2017|Future Orchards, Varieties and rootstock|

Pushing orchard performance boundaries

AgFirst’s John Wilton hones in on some key factors – particularly chemical thinning in the lead up to spring – that orchardists can concentrate on to optimise yield and fruit colour.  In preparation for writing this article I spent some time trawling through our OrchardNet™ Australian database. The database shows that in general, Australian orchard yield performance is climbing. The two major varieties [...]