Apples – Crop load observations

Posted By HBFA | March 21, 2024

Apples – Crop load observations.

Crop load still appears to be the main factor influencing fruit size and quality. We know that there is a linear relationship between total harvested yield and light inception but striking the optimum balance between tree/shoot and fruit has a major influence on marketable yield (pack-out).

The Agfirst team has just completed walking hundreds of blocks this pre-harvest. Irrespective of variety, optimizing the crop load and minimizing the variability has a significant influence on the outturn of the product which ultimately impacts on returns.  We noted a range of crop loads, both within and between orchards.

Well thinned trees were superb, with good colour and size (Fig 2). These trees will be much easier to harvest and pack-outs will be high. Leaf quality was also higher on these well thinned trees. However, within the same row we also found over-cropped trees, because of poor hand thinning, fruit held in the shade, limbs almost at breaking point (Fig. 1). Colour and size were being heavily compromised on these trees which will lower the overall pack-out for the block.

Dean Rainham



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