May 2018

Grower talk

What are the considerations for next month?

  • Double checking contractors are on track with the harvest schedule and checking fruit maturity (David Arnold, S.A.)
  • Getting ready for harvest, ensuring all equipment in proper working order and getting ready to prune trees as soon as they are harvested (Trevor Radloff, Sunraysia)
  • Getting ready for harvest and pruning Valencia trees. It is difficult to get into the trees to harvest so we are utilising the time to prune windows and do a little maintenance work (Evan Morrison, Sunraysia)
  • Getting ready for harvest, ensuring appropriate fruit fly management practices for monitoring and control and preparing the ground and foliar fertiliser program for this spring (Darren Minter, Sunraysia)

Climate update and outlook

Warmer than average conditions (day and night maximum temperatures) are expected for May through to June. April day and night temperatures were two to four degrees above average. There is a chance that below average rainfall will occur May through to June.  Conditions have been very dry across all regions.  Some minor rain did occur early in May, however it only partially penetrated the top soil.  Although warmer than average temperatures are predicted, the dryer conditions increase the probability of frost.  A summary of frost protection measures from a recent presentation in Sunraysia available by request from Steven Falivene or Citrus Australia.

Crop status and management

Phenology and crop development

The harvesting of M7 and Navellina has commenced in late April.  Fruit bearing from young trees have an expected high level of blemish, however fruit from more mature and protected trees have acceptable levels of blemish and reasonable pack outs (i.e. 50-60% first grade).  Internal maturity and fruit quality is very good. This season should have good internal quality for all varieties.  Fruit should be easily passing BrimA standards, however it is always advised to conduct an internal quality test before harvest.  Fruit colour is the limiting factor to harvest. Washington harvest is expected to commence from early June in Sunraysia and Riverland and late June in Riverina.

Pests, diseases and weeds

General pests should have already been controlled. It is not recommended to apply herbicides close to harvest as there is a risk of drift damaging and contaminating fruit.

Fullers Rose weevil: Detections of weevil is at its peak and growers must be extra vigilant to endure all controls are applied and monitor carefully.

Fruit fly: As fruit mature they will have a heightened risk if fruit fly susceptibility. Monitoring and bait spraying programs need to be implemented in Sunraysia and the Riverina. A quick guide and I.D. chart is available from NSW DPI website, NSW LLS and Citrus Australia.

This Seasonal Update for the Murray Valley, Riverlands and the Riverina has been prepared by Steven Falivene, NSW DPI.