Fig 4. Bunchy crops need to be thinned early. Leaving them until summer leads to a difficult thinning job and lots of sunburn. If left unthinned colour development and fruit size will be poor and fruit sizing will push fruit out of the bunch leading to further damage lower in the tree from falling fruit. This particular branch was above thinner and spray coverage level, so has black spot as well. Under a mature canopy this tree should have been topped in early summer to remove this problem.
This database is New Zealand wide, but predominantly Hawke’s Bay blocks. Average yields represent the true average of the database, however, as the data is compiled on an annual basis the upper quartile may have been influenced by biennial bearing in some varieties in that “on” crop blocks will tend to populate the upper quartile data in their big crop years.So if the data was averaged over two consecutive years for each block the difference between upper quartile and average may be a little less than this data shows. Even so, in recent years we have done a good job in bringing biennial bearing under control, so it probably only has a minor affect on the upper quartile data these days.
The database shows that there are many orchard blocks which consistently achieve upper quartile performance.
For most varieties, packouts and fruit size are similar for average and the upper quartile group. In some varieties, upper quartile packout is better than average.
Where does your orchard block performance lie relative to this data?
The database shows that once full canopy is reached, planting densities only have minor, if any, influence on yields or quality. The key factor is passion for the crop and attention to detail in crop husbandry.