Warmer (day and night temperatures) and drier than average conditions are expected for August through to October. Average maximum temperatures for June and to mid-July were near average and minimum temperatures were one to two degrees below average.
A number of frosts have occurred throughout all of the regions during June and early July. Most frosts were slightly above damage thresholds however some frosts were borderline and caused fruit damage in isolated pockets on blocks throughout the regions. These isolated pockets have been managed by appropriate frost harvest protocols. A fact sheet on fruit damage assessment is available in the NSW DPI website and PowerPoint presentation on frost mitigation options is available from Citrus Australia.
Crop status and management
Phenology and crop development
Varieties are still in the dormant stage and bud burst normally commences in late July to mid-August. Internal fruit maturity is about 1-2 weeks earlier than usual. Washington navel harvest will be completed by late July and late navel harvest will commence. Due to the early season and the below average crop load the Washington season might be completed slightly earlier than usual. Export demand is continuing to be strong.
Pests, diseases and weeds
Fruit fly: Numbers are low during winter, however it is important to be prepared for when the temperatures begin to warm at the end of August. Controlling numbers early in the season will have a significant impact on keeping numbers low during the high-risk summer months. A quick management guide and I.D. chart is available from NSW DPI website, NSW LLS and Citrus Australia.
Crop management top tips
Crop regulation: Blocks with low crop loads and good leaf flush have a risk of excessive crop loads for the upcoming season. Bud burst GA application can help to reduce crop load by reducing flower numbers. Literature suggests that buds in an advanced stage of sprouting are not affected by winter GA. More information is available from the NSW DPI citrus plant protection guide.
Pruning: Pruning is an essential practice for all export navels to reduce blemish and rind injury from harvesting.
This Seasonal Update for the Murray Valley, Riverlands and the Riverina has been prepared by Steven Falivene, NSW DPI.