|Tony’s Take on avos
with Tony Bradley
Aongatete Avocados Ltd
Last month I wrote an article that included forecasting the weather pattern of a cold spring.
I was concerned that I was playing a game with the gods in that I could forecast weather.
My concern about treading into others’ territories have been somewhat alleviated.
It seems cold, there been a real chill in the wind, it seems wetter than last year and there have been some big wind events impacting the growing crop. Am I guessing? I reckon some will prove it right or wrong.
Our spring growth is behind and our no harvest days are above average and our bees have gone in later and for a shorter period.
However, as we head through flowering and into fruit growth, it’s a good time to start planning for the pruning programme.
Avocados grow all year - somewhat slow, if at all, in the winter - but growth time between now and the peak of the heat in mid-summer is important.
Many growers will be reviewing this year’s avocado growing programme as a method of containing costs.
Working to a planned nutrient budget is important and it’s quite a timely season to start to get an understanding of the needed nutrient volume verses what you are applying.
While more work is needed at an industry level on soil and orchard losses, targeting your nutrient programme will save time and dollars.
In the same breath you might consider what you are going to do for your pruning and injecting programme.
Pruning in the summer is not ideal as the sun can do a lot of damage to the outer layers of the tree tissue. Pruning in heat is also risky as a tree can suffer and lose significant vigour.
Targeting an early prune programme will reduce stress in trees with big fruit numbers and it will encourage the limited food resources in a tree to be better allocated. Fewer fruit equals bigger fruit, is the theory so the earlier you reduce fruit numbers the earlier and longer the remaining fruit can grow.
Good pest control is essential.
Avogreen monitoring and timely pest sprays with copper will help you deliver the most fruit you can to the market.
Likewise targeting fewer, but bigger fruit helps with early picking and getting a bigger percentage of the crop off earlier.
Don’t miss this opportunity as we head into Christmas and the New Year. It’s important to maximise the trees’ growth rates in this period and it’s also timely to review your nutrient programme to see if you can reduce your applied nitrogen by using more effective mixes and targeting to reduce wastage.
Simple things like applying fertiliser before a rain rather than in direct sunlight all work towards making your nutrient programme and budget more effective.
So, in a nut shell we have actions to do, savings to be made and fruit to get to the market. Here’s to some warmth and less rain and wind.