By John Emett – Growers Services South Auckland and Northland
FAR AND MID NORTH
Fruit is sizing well in the irrigated Far North orchards. The crop in the area is similar to or slightly ahead of this past season’s volumes. To date, thrip pressure has been considerably lower than this time last season – something I can only attribute to drier conditions than the previous summer.
The first warm moist rains are falling, so watch thrip numbers and keep your monitoring frequency short.
There have been outbreaks in Whangarei and Mangawhai, and growers are applying insecticides accordingly.
The oldest of the newly planted trees in the big high density development I have been covering in my articles have had a fantastic growing season and have doubled their canopy size since September. The trees are large enough to handle their first decent crop this spring. I am lead to believe there has been some tweaking of the fertigation programme, which will have helped with this. It is an outstanding achievement and in contrast to the former industry norm of 7m x 7m planting, and looking to a reasonable crop in year four or five.
IN THE FIELD
I have seen some interesting things in orchards lately, such as a gall hanging from a branch. A gall is an abnormal plant tissue growth caused by insects, bacteria, virus or fungi that have led to irritation during cell division.