This article is a collaborative ‘thought piece’ about spraying of apple orchards in New Zealand. We start with a historical context, then discuss current spray calibration theory and practice and finish by looking ahead at how orchards and supporting technology are evolving.
Every kiwifruit growing season is different. What happened last season is often top of mind and we set out ready to solve or prevent the problems of last season. The real success comes when we are able to solve or prevent the problems of this season!
As the horticultural sector goes through strong growth and is well on track to become a $10 billion industry by 2020, and with the pipfruit industry doubling in value to $1 billion by 2020 there is more and more discussion around labour, or more to the point – lack of it.
Nutrient management plans are required for farms in the dairying sector, mainly because of their greater use of nitrogen fertilisers and the influence of large animals that contribute to nitrogen leaching. While there is not the same requirement for an orchard operation to have a nutrient management plan, there are potential benefits in going through the process.
It seems everywhere you look there are ‘connected’ people on their Android smartphones, iPhones and tablets. These devices allow the user to instantly update what they have just eaten or post updates to their friends on social media. More importantly is the ability of these apps to provide us with up to date, succinct data, that assists with horticultural management decisions.
I write this article as the pipfruit harvest is coming to an end and the kiwifruit industry has just completed the harvest of a record 65 million trays of Gold kiwifruit and is embarking on the main pick of Green kiwifruit. There has been significant media coverage of the issues both industries have faced in getting workers to pick and pack this fruit. Other horticulture sectors are facing similar difficulties.
Having had 30 years plus in the kiwifruit industry I can assure you that the years spin around faster and faster. It seems only a few months ago that I was on client’s orchards reviewing the winter pruning job that had been done for the season. By the time this article is in print, most of the kiwifruit crop will be tucked into coolstore awaiting shipment to markets far away. It is time to winter prune again!!
The IFTA (International Fruit Tree Association) has recently completed a successful NZ Conference and Tour. A theme of the tour was the evolution of growing systems in a world where labour is becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. In this article, some of the considerations around orchard design, efficiency and suitability for mechanization are discussed.