By Elizabeth Mace
Currently things are looking to be on track for the season ahead. There has been adequate chill hours and the new HIA chill App has been a good new addition to calculating units and planning ahead, even so many growers are still using PGR to promote an even break, but across the area it looks to be a text book bloom as long as the rain events behave themselves.
Soil tests taken in winter this year are showing a slight rise in sodium and an expected decline in calcium, this is after the previous wet season, looking into soil health would be a benefit for farmers.
On the ground, in pears and apples, we are seeing mealy bug activity which is good news as we are able to keep track of exactly where they are for treatment just prior to bud burst.
The cold snaps we have been experiencing have helped greatly in bringing mid generation numbers down and keeping them in line for a true generational emergence which will make control options more effective.
Codling moth are still diapausing but flight patterns have not changed by more than a few days since recording has begun and so we will always aim for mid September.
Dimple bug came in late last year but it is expected for them to run to form this spring.
We did end the season with a bit of fungal activity and it is important for any areas that were hit with hail last year to be vigilant and keep their covers on as the superficial damage on the twigs and bark provide shelter for the fungus to build and colonize later in the season, and so I will be keeping an extra eye out for blackspot coming into the growing period.
Figure 1: Photo Elizabeth Mace. Diapausing codling moth larvae Granny smith apples.
Figure 2: Photo Elizabeth Mace. Reproducing Mealy Bug with crawlers and Codling Moth Cases. Granny Smith Apples