The end of the 2017–18 season can be described as a lower-yielding season and generally an ‘off’ crop compared to previous seasons for the area.
The reduced figures are generally ranging between 10 and 30 per cent. Better yields can thus be expected in the upcoming season, all things being well.
The past few months have been extremely dry, with a lot of dust and browning grass being the standard landscape scene. May was recorded as the driest May on record for the Applethorpe weather station. Without rain in the coming months, water security, and frugal use of this resource, is going to be the order of the day for the next season’s crop.
Taking all methods of measurement into account, the chill received until the end of June is either on average or greater than average. Morning frosts started at a later time than usual for the area, leading to a pleasant surprise in that chill accumulation is in good stead.
The autumn Future Orchards® walk was well attended, with the focus being on optimising fruit quality, as well as discussions around pruning, which becomes the area of concentration for orchardists in the next few months. The orchard walks have become a fruitful platform for critical debate and dialogue over the issues growers are facing.
A quiet point of concern for producers is the change in standard working week hours which will create an increased challenge in controlling costs and maintaining worker utility. No doubt this will be an area spoken about more rigorously in the coming months.