Yep, I know winter is a bit of a gloomy subject but we need to face up. It happens every year and we get through it. It may be colder and wet but it’s also a great time to get organised.
While there is less travelling and it’s harder to escape off to the tropics we are spending more time home, which has given us the opportunity to be better organised for the spring.
May, June and July is just a tad too early to head to the ski slopes. So it’s time to knuckle down, hitch up the horses and get into some winter work.
This year we at AAL are changing things up a bit. We have started our winter pruning programme and it’s in full swing.
As per usual, our AAL team are hunting around 25-35 per cent of foliage to be pruned off. We target growth vigour, sunlight and fruit quality.
There are many pruning styles around. Hard and fast, slow and tempered, or something in between.
Either way, don’t leave your rush late, don’t take too little and protect last year’s growth to give you next year’s flower.
If in doubt, seek input from knowledgeable people. A number of packhouses have a range of consultants and specialists.
In our AAL operation we have over six staff with bachelor degrees working to help growers achieve more. This is quite an achievement for our small business.
May growers will be aware of starting spring early. However, something to also keep in mind is to not let the winter blues hide what’s really happening.
This year we are feeding our trees all the way through winter. We will fertilise during 11 months, missing some of the drier summer periods.
The fert brews will change to more readily available nitrogen in the cooler months. We are chasing later autumn energy stores and vigour and in winter a slower but steady growth – we want to keep our fruit growing.
It may not be noticeable but we are getting good crop returns. We are changing our picking programme and we are planning more detail and earlier faster work.
It may mean less time relaxing in front of the winter fire, but it means we can keep a steady pace.
Thanking the team
I don’t often speak about the detail of AAL, but I’d like to say thanks to my brilliant capable team.
We work as a team and it’s our interactions and discussions that have lead us to make some subtle but important developments.
I am tremendously proud of how we operate, the standards we maintain and the success we have driven to our orchard owners.