Nathan Hancock – Citrus Tree Census 2016 & Production Forecast 2017 – 27 (upon request)
John Chavarria – World Variety Trends
John Chavarria – Managing Rough Skins in Citrus
Tim Grout – Pest Control Experience in South Africa
David Moore – Citrus Strategic Investment Plan
Justin Lane – Packouts & Profitability
Lyn O’Connell – Biosecurity: What does the future hold & are we ready?
Joel Sterling – Post Entry Quarantine at Mickleham
Darryl Barbour, Penny Measham and Dan Ryan – Fruit fly – NFFC and SITplus
Dick Drew – Fruition – fruit fly management
Andrew Miles – Disease Workshop
Ryan Arnold – Netting Citrus to Meet Market Requirements
Ian Garden – Citrus products that work
Bruce Scott – Citrus Nutrition – growth, yield, QUALITY
Malcolm Smith – Imperial Rootstock
Helen Hofman – Citrus high density
Tahir Khurshid – Rootstocks trial
Graeme Sanderson – Variety Evaluation
Lee Duffy – Citrus PH Fungicides
John Golding – Australian Citrus Postharvest Science Program
Mohsen Sales – Advances in post-harvest treatments
SP Singh – Advances in Food Safety
SP Singh – Wash Water and Food Safety
Craig Wooldridge – Fungicide Resistance Report
Kerry Walsh – New tools for precision tree farming
This is the second Citrus Technical event to be proudly hosted by Citrus Australia, and has become a fixture on the citrus industry calendar, as well as complimenting Citrus Australia’s Market Outlook Forum held every other year.
Citrus growers and packers will have the opportunity to discover the next big thing in technology and gain an insight into current research projects at Citrus Technical 2017 in March.
The two day event run by Citrus Australia will be a mix of sit-down presentations, workshops and field trips aimed specifically at growers and packers.
Citrus Australia’s CEO Judith Damiani said the event will provide growers and packers with a glimpse into future technologies and provide a platform for researchers to showcase their work.
“New technology is the lifeblood of any primary industry, and the citrus industry is no exception. Unless we continue to invest in better ways to grow, pack and market our products to the world, we will get left behind,” she said.
“The format of the event will encourage growers to participate in a setting they feel comfortable in. The forum will also include displays of new equipment, products and services by commercial companies and provide a great opportunity to network. A forum specifically for the packing sector will cover new post-harvest technology and practices.”
The two day event will take place at the Mildura Arts Centre in Mildura, Victoria on 1-2 March 2017. The Forum is expected to attract 400+ citrus industry representatives eager to learn, meet and network with like-minded people. The attendees will include growers, packers, marketers, exporters, researchers, government representatives, commercial providers and regional associations.
Various sponsorship opportunities for the event are available, including exhibitor space for those looking to establish or promote their company profile, launch a new product or service, network and develop new partnerships, or join delegates on the field trip events.
Field Visit: Orchard 1
Heavy pruning increases volume and quality
Changes to pruning technique and nutrition have helped Darren and Anne-Marie Minter improve the quantity and quality of their navel crop on their Iraak farm.
Minter Magic is a family run business, established by Darren’s grandfather. His father planted the family’s first citrus in 1976 and the business is now owned by he and Anne-Marie.
Although they grow 88ha of citrus they also grow asparagus and almonds, and have planted snow peas as a cash crop. Darren says diversity is vital to their farming technique and has helped their citrus operation.
“When citrus prices were bad, diversification gave me money to prune our trees,” he said.
“Five years ago, when prices were $40-$50 a bin, I wasn’t sure whether to pull out our citrus trees and plant more asparagus. We decided to prune our trees harder and concentrate on first class fruit.
“At that stage, we chunk pruned it for as cheaply as possible. It cost about $1-$2 a tree.
“As a result, our percentage of Class 1 fruit improved from 25%-30% to 60% plus now. We now prune every year, behind picking. Heavy pruning means we get more fruit inside the tree, and less fruit outside.”
Darren said heavy pruning resulted in a higher volume and better quality fruit.
“We picked 900 bins from a 12ha block the first year we purchased it. With heavy pruning, we are picking between 1700-1800 bins off the same patch. It’s better quality fruit, too.”
The Minters changed their irrigation system at about the same time, with similarly positive affect.
“We changed from drip irrigation on a property with sandy soil we purchased five years ago to low level sprinklers. The trees on this patch wouldn’t grow well – we tried pulse irrigation, continual irrigation, nothing was working.
“We were picking 25t/ha or less on this patch and the rest of the farm is 45t/ha. I ripped the dripper line out in June 2015 and replaced it with water birds. The crops have improved every year since.”
The Minters use a subculture system, growing Haifa white clover down the centre of their trees.
“It keeps the heat down and is also important for our IPM system. It’s also the best watering device I’ve come across. It wilts at 30KPA, whereas citrus wilts at 60KPA, so when it wilts you realise it’s getting dry and needs a drink.”
The Minters have planted more navels for the export market, including 8ha of M7.
“We lack early varieties on the farm so it will extend our harvest by a month, which helps the economies of scale. We will grow asparagus between the new trees as a cash crop while we wait for the trees to come online.”
This focus on China has seen the Minters concentrate on producing a smoother rind, which the Chinese market prefers.
“We use a mix of fowl manure, coal and gypsum for soil conditioner and try to use calcium nitrate instead of urea to keep skin smoother.”
Delegates to the field day will also be able to see:
- The asparagus packing plant in operation.
- Plant growth regulators: trials using 2,4-D to show effect of closing navels using 2,4-D sprays and the effect of GA at differing rates and timing.
- DuPont will display fruit to and trial results of Exirel in treating Kelly’s Citrus Thrips and other pests.
- Tops demonstration in navels and mandarins – rates and timing demonstration.
- Recapturing and recycling irrigation water – a Minter Magic innovation to save water and nutrients and reapply them to horticulture crops.
Field Visit: Orchard 2
Black plastic mulch used in major expansion
Belah Heights is trialling black plastic mulch for its citrus expansion, which involves planting all trees into plastic mulch covered mounds.
Field day delegates will also hear from John Hederics on his pruning technique, biosecurity management and fertigation system.
Belah Heights is a 500 hectare horticultural property with current plantings of 125 hectares in citrus, comprising new and established plantings grown for both the domestic and export markets, 45 hectares in wine grapes and about 60 hectares planted to watermelons during the summer months.
Current citrus plantings include the navel varieties of Cara Cara, Navelina, Lane, Leng. and Washington; Afourer and Daisy mandarins, Arnold Blood and Seville oranges; Eureka and Lisbon lemons; and, Star Ruby Red grapefruit.
New plantings in 2015 and 2016 included Afourer, Tango and Gold Nugget mandarin varieties and Arnold Blood oranges.
Belah Heights is now involved in a major citrus expansion, planting 30,000 trees (40 hectares) per year for five years, starting last year.
They want young trees to bear fruit as quickly as possible so are trialling black plastic mulch, which they have used successfully for their melon crops.
“The black mulch increases soil warmth early and late in the season to extend the growth period. It also helps retain moisture and stops weeds,” John said.
A thicker plastic will be used for their citrus trees, and a dripper is laid underneath the plastic.
“We haven’t signed off on the black plastic, we’re trialling it, but we’re hopeful. It worked well for the watermelons.”
All trees on the farm are planted into mounds 600mm high and two metres wide. John said the farm comprises a mix of good and poor soil.
“We mound so we can ensure trees are planted into good soils. It also means we only irrigate 1/3 of the area.”
Belah Heights utilises proportional dosing through an advanced fertigation system.
“Fertigation systems can be overly complicated, we try to make it as simple as possible,” John said.
Field day delegates will also learn of the pruning technique applied on farm that John first saw in Spain.
“A lot of people have fruit set on tops of trees. We do something to help even the spread of fruit. After harvest, we flatten the tops of trees, having 2 ½ m to 3m high canopies.
“We then cut the centre out to stop it growing straight up. By cutting the centre we try to encourage young growth.
“We haven’t had to hedge the sides since, because the trees are growing in, not out.”
Belah Heights are firm proponents of the benefits of windbreaks.
They have used spotted gums successfully as a windbreak with no intrusion into the citrus root zone and also use grasses and sorghum to protect new plantings. They water the sorghum using T Tape for the life of the windbreak.
Biosecurity is a priority at Belah Heights. Belah Heights had a farm in the NT quarantined after their melon crop was infected with cucumber green mottle mosaic virus, so John knows first-hand the importance of on farm biosecurity.
As part of their biosecurity procedures, all vehicles that enter Belah Heights have their underbelly washed.
“It also gives everyone the message that we’re serious about what happens on farm.”