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Growing

Growing

To develop high quality nutritious fruit careful attention is required by the Simpson Farms operations team to manage the productive capacity and health of the orchard estate. In particular systems are in place to maximize the flowering, fruit set, fruit development and harvest.

 

 

Simpson Farms are one of the more established and largest growers of avocados in Australia.  With this depth of experience the operational field team have well developed, nutrition, irrigation, plant health and tree management programs.

 

 

These programs are focused on ensuring consistent tree health, strong yield potential and nutritious flavorsome fruit to ensure a good eating experience for our end use customers.

NUTRITION

 

Plant nutrition is critical to maintain tree health and in turn to produce high quality nutritious fruit for market. The application of fertilizers and nutrients is based on a scientific approach. This approach includes: regular visual assessments of plant health and plant growth, nutrient removal through crop harvest and pruning, and sampling programs to monitor available nutrient levels in the plant leaf and soil.

 

Major nutrients applied include nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.  These lements are critical to maintain growth and productivity in the orchard. The micro nutrients that are important to aid in managing plant health and productivity include Zinc, Boron, Calcium, Magnesium and to a lesser extent Sulphur, Copper and Iron.

 

Nutrients are applied in a number of key forms, granular or dry flowable forms which are broadcast under the trees, soluble forms which are sprayed onto the trees or applied through the irrigation systems to the root zone.

IRRIGATION

Scheduling Decisions and Moisture Monitoring

 

Irrigation is applied to the entire estate via under tree mini sprinklers.  Irrigation is scheduled to match the water lost through evaporation or extracted by the plants and lost through the leaves in transpiration processes.

 

 

Irrigation scheduling decisions (frequency and duration of water applied) is based on monitoring soil moisture extraction from the trees root zones using high technology soil moisture monitoring systems (enviroscan). Moisture readings are collected via remote telemetry systems every 15 minutes to show the water extraction within the plants root zone.

 

 

Although soil moisture monitoring is critically important a strong understanding of weather conditions, crop phenology and water demand by the crops is essential to manage plant health and productivity. Over or under watering can be detrimental to tree health and can lead to leaching of valuable nutrients out of the root zone.

 

 

Water demand for avocados in Central Queensland is at its lowest in the May, June, July period with cooler weather. Irrigation is applied in this period to maintain fruit turgidity and prevent water stress.  Water use will increase with the onset of flowering in August through to January.  Irrigation is increased during this period to cope with the high water demand caused by flowering, fruit set fruit expansion and evaporation as soil and air temperature increases. Irrigation frequency and duration will be reduced after the fruit drop period and maintained around this level until the autumn/winter period where it will be again reduced.

PLANT HEALTH

INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM) PLAN FOR AVOCADOS

Integrated Pest Management involves less reliance on crop protectants by utilizing different complementary control measures including; cultural measures such as crop hygiene, planting less susceptible varieties and biological controls such as releasing and encouraging naturally occurring parasites, predators and pathogens of pest species to prosper in the orchards, using chemicals only when necessary (when pests reach thresholds), use bait sprays instead of cover sprays where suited, carefully apply crop protectants with a well calibrated spray equipment to avoid crop damage, excess residue and off site pollution, monitor crops regularly to determine when pests are present and only take corrective action when pests reach pre set threshold levels.

 

 

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