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Ongoing project

Afourer mandarin best practice canopy management (CT19002)

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries

What's it all about?

This investment is developing best practice canopy management techniques that will improve long-term yields and minimise alternate bearing in Afourer mandarins. Alternate bearing can be a significant issue for Afourer growers, causing high crop loads in one season followed by low crop loads the next, resulting in problems with fruit size and marketing. This project will ultimately develop a best practice manual that will provide practical solutions for growers to implement on-farm.

Specifically, the project is:

  • Building capacity through providing Afourer growers and industry development officers with the most up-to-date information (domestic and international) to improve production and canopy management techniques. The project team will conduct study tours within Australia and overseas to key growing regions such as Spain, California and South Africa. Findings from these study tours will then be implemented in trials on grower properties to test various solutions.

  • Conducting research into current grower management practices, including developing case studies based on data comparing yield, canopy management, nutrition, irrigation, plant spacing and general practices. The project team will establish up to 18 demonstration trials and four replicated trials on participating grower properties for three seasons to test new techniques identified by the project.

Seven of the six replicated trials were harvested. The data is currently being collated and will be presented in an online zoom seminar in autumn 2023. Unfortunately one of the young tree trial sites was harvested before yield data could be collected.

A study tour of Spain and Morocco occurred with an aim to learn how other growers are managing Afourer Mandarin’s and their canopy management practices. Intensive pruning was regarded as a key management strategy by the high majority of orchards visited on the tour. Most growers visited spent 3 to 5 minutes pruning each tree annually. Seventeen short videos (3 to 10 minutes) were made of the farm’s visited. Most videos are presented by ; the orchard managers (if they spoke English) or an Australian citrus grower (Ryan Arnold) and with input from the citrus consultant (John Chavarria). The videos will be published on the NSW DPI website. An online zoom meeting will occur in autumn 2023 over viewing the findings of the study tour. In autumn 2023 an online Zoom presentation is planned to present the results.

Attendance at the International Citrus Congress in Turkey occurred from the 4th to 12 November 2022. Afourer production issues were discussed with many international production specialists from South Africa and Chile during the Congress.

During this reporting period, the following activities have been conducted:

  • A farm walk occurred to inspect replicated trial sites at Sunraysia at Gol Gol, NSW on 14 July and Nutrano, VIC on 15 July 2022. Approximately six growers from the local region attended each farm walk.
  • Twelve videos have been made that show progress of the replicated trials. Videos have been uploaded onto the NSW Department of Primary Industries website.  
  • Four videos have been made that overview Queensland mandarin pruning practices. Videos have been uploaded onto the NSW Department of Primary Industries website.

  • Seven replicated canopy management trials in total were implemented in Sunraysia and Riverina. Three mature tree and two young tree trials in Sunraysia and one young tree and one mature tree trial in the Riverina. 
  • Two field days occurred in Sunraysia providing local project participants an opportunity to see trials and discuss Afourer management issue. To learn more about the field days and other project progress including the trial treatments, read the December 2020 newsletter.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Citrus Fund