Once the basic infrastructure is in place, it’s time to focus on the management of the orchard. While it’s easy to think mainly about planting and harvesting, the year-round management of the orchard includes winter pruning, pest and disease control, thinning, frost protection, summer pruning and pollination. Here is our quick guide on kiwifruit orchard management.
Pruning and nutrition are key parts of the orchard management strategy as it determines a major part of your crop yield outcomes. There are two main pruning times - in winter and in summer.
This is one of the most crucial steps in orchard management as this not only helps control your crop load for fruit to come, but it also determines how much work you will have to carry out throughout the season, including thinning and summer canopy work.
It’s important to test your soil each year to see what nutrients are available to the plant and what specific elements have been taken up from the previous season. These nutrients need to be replenished with an individually tailored nutrient programme. This programme continues into the Spring and Summer months to optimise plant health.
Once bud break, pollination and thinning have taken place, summer pruning is the next phase. Managing female fruiting canes and crop load correctly helps to control vegetative vigour so carbohydrates are partitioned to the fruit, increasing the light on fruiting leaves so they can keep photosynthesising, thereby feeding the fruit. It also determines the following year’s fruiting potential. Many growers leave huge amounts of potential return unrealised and uncaptured through not optimising pollination as it is a complex process to ensure maximum achievable returns. Talk to us to find out how Southern Cross Horticulture can help you to get the maximum achievable returns by optimising pollination.
The season typically starts with winter pruning in June, July and August. Spring is the season for new growth during September and October. Flowering and pollination take place in November and December. These months can also be the most challenging with frosts, climatic conditions, and pest and disease control. The summer months of December, January and February are when crop load and summer canopy management occurs.
Harvesting of kiwifruit takes place in New Zealand during the months of March, April and May. It can be the most exciting time of the year as you finally get to see the fruits of your inputs and labour!
Kiwifruit is largely paid on taste (measured by Dry matter % of fruit content) and harvested on specific maturity criteria. This is made up of dry matter, brix, firmness, colour and black seed count.
Harvest is an exciting but challenging time of the season. It is essential to have a well-managed and controlled quality control system in place, as well as motivated pickers with diligent and caring harvest co-ordinators. This will ensure fruit storage potential is maximised and exceeds the demands of our international Zespri kiwifruit consumers.
Our team at Southern Cross Horticulture are top experts in their chosen fields, including plant propagation, nursery technology and orchard management, working together to deliver kiwifruit of the highest quality.
We’ve been developing and managing our own profitable kiwifruit orchards using our tried and tested techniques for over 40 years. Through constantly trialling new techniques and innovation our teams know what works. We treat all our orchards as if they were our own, and we’re here to support you on your kiwifruit journey.
If you’re thinking about establishing a new kiwifruit orchard – or are considering converting a dairy farm into a kiwifruit orchard – an integrated kiwifruit orchard development and management company is the best place to start.
If you’d like to know more, the first step is for us to meet. We’d welcome the opportunity to visit your land, to listen to your vision, and discuss the potential to create a world-class orchard with you. Get in touch with us to today.