Queensland Season Update

April 2018

Grower talk

What is top of mind for you to do in the orchard in the next few weeks? 

  • Maintain irrigation schedules to all blocks as the soil continues to dry out.
  • Be ready to apply any Gibberleic Acid to Imperial blocks that require it following the first pick.
  • Maintain harvest schedule for all early varieties and ensure that the fruit is not getting too large or ripe before harvest.

Is there any pest or disease that you are targeting now or preparing for in the next few week?

  • Citrus jassid in Imperials and Navels.  As these varieties continue their colour break they become more susceptible to damage from this insect.
  • Maintain Queensland fruit fly baiting program.
  • Reduce fungicide intervals in Emporer brown spot susceptible blocks.  Look at switching to the use of copper in these blocks when the weather cools down.

What would you like to get done if you had more time?

  • Remove sunburn in Murcott blocks before harvest.

Climate update and outlook

The citrus growing regions of Queensland are experiencing warmer than average maximum and minimum temperatures, coupled with below average rainfall.

Temperatures are forecast to remain higher than average in the next 3 months with rainfall likely to be in line with long term averages.

Crop status and management

Phenology and crop development

The harvest of Imperials, Navelinas, Grapefruit and Lemons has been progressing for some weeks now with                the Freemont and Nova harvest to start soon.

Brix levels in Imperials seem to be mostly around 10 degrees with low levels of acid contributing to BrimA levels of 110 or more.  There appears to be more granulation in Imperials compared to previous seasons.

All other varieties seem to be maturing in line with previous years.

Lemons are continuing to flower and set an “out of season crop”.

Pest, diseases and weeds

Pressure from Queensland fruit fly has reduced in the past month, however isolated blocks are still experiencing some activity.  There have been some instances of fruit fly damage in Murcott’s and growers are advised to include this variety in their weekly baiting program

Emporer brown spot levels remain relatively low at present, however cool and moist conditions in the mornings are providing the ideal environment for infection.

Citrus thrip numbers are increasing in lemons, particularly in the small fruit.  The volume of this small fruit will be determined somewhat by the amount of main crop that the block is holding.

Fruit spotting bug remains an intermittent pest that is still requiring control in some blocks.

Pests and diseases to look out for in the coming month:

  • Emporer brown spot
  • Queensland fruit fly
  • Citrus jassid
  • Spined citrus bug and Fruit spotting bug

This Seasonal Update for Queensland has been prepared by Mal Wallis, CitriCare