Season Update August 2018: Queensland
Grower top tips
What is top of mind for you to do in the orchard in the next few weeks?
Fertilize the mid to late season varieties for those blocks that we are using basal fertilizer on. We have already commenced the fertigation program on those blocks that are watered via drip irrigation.
Zinc, Manganese and Magnesium foliar sprays are to be applied prior to flowering.
Is there any pest or disease that you are targeting now or preparing for in the next few weeks?
Our harvest has now finished so most of the spraying is now completed. The only blocks that fungicide is being applied to now are our lemons that are now starting to have some young fruit on them.
How has the harvest been progressing and implications for next season?
Overall our Murcott crop looks to be down by about 20%, and I think that this is considered average for this season.
For those Imperials that are starting to shoot and show flowers there looks to an abundance of flowers. This is to be expected given the lighter crop this season.
Climate update and outlook
Continued dry and cold conditions have prevailed over the past month. Bureau of Meteorology data shows that minimum temperatures have been 2 – 3 °c below average with prolonged periods of frost. Maximum temperatures have been at or even above average.
Crop status and management
The lemon blocks that survived the frost have many small fruitlets now. Those blocks that were severely frosted in July are now starting to recover and re-flower.
Imperials and Navels are starting to shoot, and some small flower buds are evident. Late season varieties are not at the bud swell stage yet.
Pruning of all varieties continues with emphasis on getting the early season varieties done first before the mid to late season ones.
Pests and Diseases
Pest and disease pressure are at its quietest period of the year.
As mentioned before, only those lemon blocks that have small fruit will be having regular fungicide applications. Citrus thrips are being controlled on some of this fruit already. Broad mite pressure remains relatively low.
During flowering it is a good idea to observe the levels of Lemon bud moth and Flower midge. Both insects attack the flower, particularly when the flower starts to elongate and can infect large numbers of flowers. Control of these pests is rare given that citrus aborts more than 90% of its flowers, however in severe cases control may be warranted.
This Seasonal Update for Queensland has been prepared by Mal Wallis, CitriCare