The weather’s been good, nice drops of rain but not too much at once. We’ve got about 30ml at a time, with five-seven days between falls. These intervals allow the ground to dry out, so we’ve been able to graze our swamp blocks into June without pugging, pulling the cattle off when wet weather is coming. This means less pasture damage on farms – a plus going into spring.
July is one of those months in the growing year when not much is happening. It’s the calm before the storm. At AAL, it’s the month we use to check plans and get ready for spring to arrive.
This is when we review last season and our forward plans. We take time to check we’ve done all the work on the orchards, and check our pruning programme has been heavy enough for the flower that’s forming. And we finish our adjustment applications for any soil nutrient and fertility measures.
July is all about getting ready for the sprint to Christmas. It’s just before the main part of the avocado growing year; so we want to ensure we have things set-up. Good planning plays an important part in the next quarter of the growing year.
By the July’s end you’ll want to have inspected trees for the next round of injecting. You’ll have applied the first round of the spring fertiliser programme. Given it takes about four-six weeks to get a response from mid-to-late July fertiliser applications, you’ll see some action in trees in August.
It’s also time to start talking to your pickers and fruit marketers about the crop going forward. Re-confirm their plans to harvest your crop and what is the best set of actions for the fruit.
This helps to identify key deadlines for on-orchard actions and is an opportunity to change up the way you’re growing and introduce new and refreshing concepts. For example, discuss with your apiarist hive location, hive numbers, timing for best benefits to the hive and trees.
This year’s harvest focus is on fruit quality. Harvesting fruit in the best windows to deliver the best quality. So you need to talk with your picker. Dropped bags are a big issue, however so too is bin handling around the orchard and during trucking; also holding fruit in-store. Ensure heat is taken out of fruit quickly and protect the quality all the way through the food chain.
There’s been good discussions recently at industry level and hopefully harvesting gangs will pick up on some of the learnings.
At AAL, we want to deliver fruit to market in the best condition. All the best with your planning, timing and attention to the small stuff.