ORCHARD NEWS FROM THE BAY OF PLENTY

Kyra Fielden, Grower Services, Bay of Plenty

Harvesting
Harvesting in the Bay of Plenty has just started; we’ve had a few growers’ fruit through the packhouse already.  If you would like to watch and follow your fruit while it is being processed and packed, we encourage you to do so.  Myself or someone in the packhouse will take you through all the way from the fruit being washed, sorted and graded through to packing.  It’s what you’ve worked hard for all year so to see the final result packed and ready for market is most satisfying.  I have started Dry Matter sampling on some younger orchards which are looking promising for early harvest, contact me if you would like a sample taken.

Katikati field day
We had a fantastic turnout for Katikati field day in May and it was a stunning autumn day at Kulala Orchard. Thank you to everyone who attended and to our very dedicated hosts Andre and Debbie Buitendag.  Many aspects of orcharding were discussed on the day including a technical talk about fruit quality with Erica Faber and on orchard we looked at irrigation and fertigation, beneficial inputs including liquid fish into the soil.

We discussed on orchard outcomes from pruning large established trees with Erica Faber’s pruning technique shown in this picture where you can see a small tree starting to form from being pruned down low allowing plenty of sunlight for new growth to develop. You can see the large branches in behind that will be taken down slowly over the next few years as the new developing limbs start to produce.

A key take home point from Erica about pruning was its essential role in helping to reduce the environment where rot forming pathogens can thrive. Pruning allows light and air movement into the canopy which helps dry wet conditions.

The young trees on Kulala Orchard are very well cared for with large surrounds allowing plenty of room for growth.  Mulch has been spread out past the drip line to prepare and change the soil in anticipation of new roots developing into virgin soils, building a good organic matter layer for surface roots to develop into.

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Great turnout at our field day on Kulala Orchard.

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Established tree pruned using Erica’s method.

Frost
It’s getting cold out there! The NZ Avocado website has many articles listed on frost protection that provide information on what the options are and what might be best for your orchard – see https://industry.nzavocado.co.nz/grow/frost/. The Just Avocados team are available if you require help with decisions you make about the best frost protection approach for your trees.

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Wire to allow room for growth in the foreground of the photo and frost cloth covering the tops.

2019-20 season proposal
You should have received our proposal in the post by now. Please do get in contact with me if you have any questions about this and the new pool and consignment options.

Soil health workshop
In the latest AvoConnect update there is an invite for a Soil Health Workshop with Dr Ash Martin on 28 June in Katikati – I encourage you to attend, it’s a free workshop, gaining more understanding of soil health is important in the future of growing and crop production. See the details on the NZ Avocado website https://industry.nzavocado.co.nz/events/ash-martin/. It would be great to see you there!

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