Grower top tips
FRW: Proper FRW controls are essential. Skirting programs need to be conducted as fruit weigh down branches.
Fruit fly baiting: Prepare the spray rig and chemicals to intensify your baiting program
Preparing for autumn: Prepare for the copper spray program and snail bait application.
Nutrition: Stop the fertigation program.
Decide whether a residual herbicide will be applied before a decent rainfall event to reduce weed emergence during harvest.
Slightly warmer than average conditions are expected for April through to June. This might hasten the internal maturity of fruit. There is a good chance that average to slightly above average rainfall will occur April through to June. Average maximum and minimum temperate by 1 to 3oC. Very dry conditions have been experienced and irrigation application volumes is expected to be above average
Crop status and management
Phenology and crop development
All varieties are approaching colour break. Fruit will begin to lose its dark colour and turn a lighter shade of green. Anecdotal crop loads have not changes from the previous report; the Riverina will probably have a significantly below average crop whilst the Sunraysia will probably be below average and similar to the 2016 crop. The Riverland will probably have crop loads similar to last season (below average to average). Imperial mandarin crop are significantly below average throughout the regions. The crop loads are very variable for the Riverland and Sunraysia, some blocks have low crop loads and some are above average. The official citrus Australia crop estimate reports should be available in late March to early April.
Cling sprays in mid April might be required for early maturing navels.
Pests, diseases and weeds
Insects: The time of major insect pest incursions and intervention is over. Late generations of red scale are the only main concern and this can be easily identified by monitoring the orchard, especially headlands and other dust prone areas. Recent NSW DPI research suggest that citrus gall wasp can be impacted with some systemic insecticides. More information will be published by next week on the NSW DPI website. (I can give you the link on Monday when it goes live)
Fullers Rose weevil: Detections of weevil is at its peak and growers must be extra vigilant to endure all controls are applied and monitor carefully.
Fruit fly: As fruit mature they will have a heightened risk if fruit fly susceptibility. Monitoring and bait spraying programs need to be implemented in Sunraysia and the Riverina. A quick guide and I.D. chart is available from NSW DPI, NSW LLS and Citrus Australia.
It is essential to apply Copper sprays in late March to April to reduce the risk of Septoria spot, Phytophthora brown rot and greasy spot. Good coverage all around the fruit is essential for effective control.
This Seasonal Update for Queensland has been prepared by Steven Falivene, NSW DPI.