Brett Rosenzweig - Industry Development Officer In The Orchard
With harvest knocking on the door, the following checklist will provide you with some helpful reminders over the coming months...
Leaf Sampling Leaf sampling should be completed for this season. Leaf sampling is a good tool to indicate the nutrient status of the orchard. Post harvest fertiliser applications can be tweaked (if needed) according to January sampling results. The downside of January leaf samples is that it is too late to rectify any nutrient imbalance for the current season. Professor Patrick Brown and his research team at UC Davis have developed a new model that allows October leaf sampling results to allow changes to spring fertigation programs. There is a significant advantage by sampling in October since the results are based on the current crop load and growing conditions. More information on the model will be released in a fact sheet in September. Refer to Fact Sheet 15 – Leaf Tissue Analysis Review. Check Fruit Moisture Content Here’s another reminder to be vigilant about checking the moisture content of the fruit before shaking, or before pick-up and stockpiling. Even though we have been experiencing a dry spell that may continue into harvest, it’s still vital the fruit is at the correct moisture content before stockpiling. Research has indicated the incidence of mould growth and food safety risks increase dramatically when fruit is stored with kernel
Disease and Pests This season has been one of the better seasons for disease control. While there were some signs of rust early in the season around flowering, there has not been the usual sign of leaf loss at the top of the canopy that occurred in the past couple of seasons. There has been an increased incidence of mite damage in orchards this year. While it is too late now for control, it will be important to take additional care when applying your winter oil spray during dormancy to aid control for next season. If your orchard is affected by mites, this is another reason for applying post harvest fertiliser sooner rather than later as leaf functionality and therefore water/fertiliser uptake is reduced. Canopy Coverage Spray Trials Update Ongoing trial work to improve spray coverage in orchards continued this season. This time three different rates of speed using an engine driven PTO orchard sprayer and three different water rates using a PTO driven orchard sprayer were tested. All of the trial work again showed adequate coverage in the top third of the tree is harder to achieve than in the bottom two thirds. The most interesting observation of the trial work is it appears more nozzles of the same specification can have a beneficial result in improving coverage. Field days highlighting all the trial results will be held during winter and spring later this year. The field day in winter will focus on basic principles whilst the one in spring will focus on the trials results and include the use of UV dye and black lights to view the canopy coverage first hand. For further information contact: Brett Rosenzweig Industry Development Officer Almond Board of Australia P 08 8582 2055 or 0429 837 137 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
moisture of greater than 6%. Remember – Food safety starts in the orchard! Refer to Fact Sheet 10 – What Threatens The Safety Of Almonds. Soil Salinity and pH Soil samples for salinity and pH should be taken after harvest. Samples should be taken at least three depths within the wetted area of the rootzone for sprinklers and both 20cm and 60cm from the dripper of drip irrigated orchards. Target known salinity hotspots from previous years or known drainage areas to start with. Don’t forget to test for pH and surface soil acidification in drip irrigated orchards. Refer to Fact Sheet 09 – Soil Acidification. Post Harvest Nutrition To get the most efficient fertiliser uptake after harvest, the best time for application is in March or after Nonpareil has been harvested, but remember to ensure the rootzone has sufficient moisture to facilitate uptake. Applications later than this or on dry soil can result in the fertiliser remaining in the soil, not readily being taken up by the tree and prone to leaching beyond the active rootzone during winter. Refer to the two fact sheets titled “Balancing Nutrient Input and Output – CT Trial Results” and “Timing Nutrient Inputs For Best Effect”. “Bud building” sprays using Lo-Bi Urea and other micro nutrients
(e.g. Boron and Zinc) should also be applied. Rates for “Bud building” sprays of Lo-Bi Urea are usually 1% or 10kg/1000L. Refer to Fact Sheet 02. You can also read the Almond Doctor blog at www.thealmonddoctor.com where there are specific discussions about post harvest foliar applications of Lo-Bi urea and Solubor.