What is top of mind for you to do in the orchard in the next few weeks?
Prepare harvested blocks for pruning/ hedging. Weed control also required in these blocks.
Spray foliar micronutrients prior to winter.
Is there any pest or disease that you are targeting now or preparing for in the next few weeks?
Emporer brown spot. Regular fungicide program is to continue. At present our levels are low and we aim to maintain this until harvest.
Queensland fruit fly baiting to continue in mid and late season varieties.
Fungicide program to continue in lemon blocks to protect young fruit for black spot.
How has the harvest been progressing and implications for next season?
The Imperial volume has been down about 10% from last season. The patchy flowering and subsequent cropping has been a contributor to the increased amount of granulation this season. We would expect a heavier flowering next season and if we were to achieve a drier spring then this would go a long way to reducing the granulation in this variety.
At this stage it looks as though the Murcott’s (starting with the Low Seeded) will be ready to harvest at a similar time to last year.
Climate update and outlook
Warmer than average minimum and maximum temperatures have prevailed over the past month. At the time of writing a low pressure system has produced extremely cold conditions that has moved into the southern part of Queensland. Minimums during this time have been up to 7 °c below average.
Rainfall outlook for the next 3 months indicates that there is a neutral chance of exceeding average rainfall. There is an increasing chance that the remainder of May will experience temperatures warmer than average.
Crop status and management
Phenology and crop development
The harvest of the early season varieties is nearing completion with all growers likely finished within the next 2 – 3 weeks.
In general, the volume of Imperial mandarins has been down on previous seasons, however all other varieties have achieved good yields. Albedo breakdown is starting to occur in some of the Nova blocks that are still to be harvested.
Pest, diseases and weeds
With the recent rainfall and subsequent fogs, all Murcott blocks will be susceptible to Emporer brown spot infection. Regular fungicides are needed during this time. Copper applications seem to be providing better control than Mancozeb.
Broad mite has been detected in those lemon blocks with small fruit. High numbers of citrus thrip has been seen on this crop and have been requiring control. Preventative fungicides should be applied to this lemon crop.
Adult citrus jassids have been noted on some mid and late season mandarin blocks. These do not seem to be doing any damage at this stage however care should be taken to ensure that their numbers do not build up to a point where damage occurs.
Queensland fruit fly pressure continues to reduce, however baiting in all varieties should remain at once per week.
Pests and diseases to look out for in the coming month:
Emporer brown spot
Spined citrus bug and Fruit spotting bug
This Seasonal Update for Queensland has been prepared by Mal Wallis, CitriCare