What is top of mind for you to do in the orchard in the next few weeks?
Continue with basal fertilizer applications in those blocks already harvested. For those blocks that have drip irrigation there will start to be some nitrogen application from now on. The hedging has mostly been completed in those varieties that have been harvested with the pruning of these blocks continuing.
Is there any pest or disease that you are targeting now or preparing for in the next few weeks?
We will continue to watch weather patterns for the onset of any potential rainfall. If this happens we may have to apply another fungicide in any late hanging Murcott blocks. Weed control is now a priority for us with Marshmallow weed becoming significant while the blocks have been harvested.
How has the harvest been progressing and implications for next season?
The yield from the Low Seeded Murcotts was very disappointing, possibly less than 50% of last season’s. We are about to start the normal Murcotts where the yield looks to be better and more in line with an average season. Rind texture looks reasonably smooth.
Some rain fell during the early part of July with falls of up to 30mm being recorded in some of the growing districts. Total rainfall to the end of July 2018 is well below the average across all growing districts. Conditions during July have been cool to cold with significant frosts being recorded.
The August to October outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology shows that rainfall is likely to be around average over this time. Temperatures are likely to be above average during this period.
Crop status and management
Lemons continue to flower and set an early crop. Recent very cold weather has frosted some of this crop depending on the location of the block.
Bud swell and some bud burst has been observed in Imperials and Navels. The above mentioned cold weather has frosted some of this shoot and the weather pattern will have slowed the development of this shoot throughout the district.
Overall, there was a much lighter crop in Imperials and Low Seeded Murcotts. This will therefore lead to a much larger flowering for the coming season. Thorough pruning of these blocks will help reduce the fruiting wood and therefore reduce the flowering in spring.
Pests and diseases
Pest and disease activity is quiet and particularly so since the onset of cold weather.
Early set lemons have limited pressure from citrus thrip and broad mite. This is likely to increase during spring.
Protectant fungicide applications for Emporer brown spot have finished in most orchards as the Murcott harvest commences.
This Seasonal Update for Queensland has been prepared by Mal Wallis, CitriCare