Season Update August 2018: Riverlands, Riverina and Murray Valley

August 2018

Climate and outlook

Warmer (day and night temperatures) and drier than average conditions are expected for September through to November. Average maximum temperatures for July to mid-August were above average and minimum temperatures were slightly bellow to or near average. Rainfall is well below average and extra winter and early spring irrigation will be required.

A number of frosts have occurred throughout all of the regions throughout the winter period. Most frosts were slightly above damage thresholds however some frosts were borderline and caused fruit damage in scattered 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

Budburst has occurred and flower heads are emerging. An early leaf expansion zinc and manganese foliar spray can be applied next month once leaves are about 2 cm in length. A minor slowdown in navel harvest occurred as the Washington season ended at Late July due to the slight delay of colouring of late navel fruit . Fruit are fully coloured now and harvest is proceeding at a good pace. Fruit size and internal quality are good. Export demand is continuing to be strong.

Pests, diseases and weeds

Fruit fly: Temperatures are rising above fruit fly flight thresholds. Late navel varieites and Valencias are at risk. 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

Expert tips:

Leon Cacavallio: Preparing for the flower GA and 24D sprays on selected mandarins.

Daniel Lazar: Pruning trees as soon as harvest is completed and checking the irrigation system.

Simon Lehmann: Starting the fertigation program and pruning. Pruning will be heavier on blocks with light crop this season as they might have heavy crops next season.

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