Although the winter weather took its time to kick in, most trees and vines had dropped their leaves by June. 

Herbicide applications prior to leaf fall maintained reasonable floor hygiene throughout the area.
A backup application took place in early June for winter weeds such as Ryegrass that emerged following
some much-welcomed rain events leading into the winter period. 

Pre-emergent herbicides can play a significant role in summer weed control but can only be applied during the dormancy period. All pre-emergents need to be washed in by rainfall or with overhead or flood irrigation, and generally left until the later part of the winter period to get the best out of the active constituent being considered. Length of control does vary between products, as well as what weeds are controlled so we recommend discussing your property needs and concerns with your local agronomist. They can help you to determine which pre-emergent herbicide suits your needs if you are considering residual control for the coming season. 

Some late season summer vegetable crops were still being harvested towards the end of May, with markets slowing right down once the Coronavirus kicked in. Most growers opted to store in bins with hopes that the demand for their stock in storage will change once the restaurants and clubs start to trade again as this will
see a rise in produce movement in the metropolitan markets. 

Winter vegetables had a great start to the season; with more than desirable weather conditions assisting in early vegetative growth which assisted in some solid, early bulking in crops such as onions, garlic, broccolini, beetroot and potatoes. With no frost events before June 1, plants continued to set up a nice frame for the colder months ahead. Pest pressure was at an all time high, with constant monitoring and pesticide applications needed to maintain adequate threshold levels and minimise damage throughout all crops listed.

In grapes, a vine moth incursion did cause some defoliation in patches around the growing area; even where control methods were put in place. Vine moth generations can occur 2-3 times in a season with the first usually around October. Not generally a pest to consider controlling but following numbers seen this Autumn, there could be more than an average emergence during the spring period. 

The below message was released regarding M3 and M5 Fungicide usage this upcoming growing season.

Agrochemical Update – May 2020

22 May 2020

New restrictions on the number of Group M3 and Group M5 fungicide sprays

Changes to the recommendations for Group M3 and Group M5 fungicides will appear in the 2020/2021 ‘Dog book’.

The recommended number of sprays of Group M3 fungicides is now limited to no more than three sprays per season.

The Group M3 fungicides are known collectively as dithiocarbamates. The dithiocarbamate active constituents registered for use in wine-grape production are mancozeb, metiram, propineb, thiram, zineb and ziram. The fungal targets for these active constituents include black spot, downy mildew and phomopsis cane and leaf spot.

Note that the limit of three sprays per season includes when Group M3 fungicides are coformulated with other active constituents such as metalaxyl (-M).

A change has also been made to the restriction on use for mancozeb which is ‘Use no later than E-L 31, berries pea-size (not > 7 mm diameter)’.

The number of sprays of Group M5 fungicides is also now limited to no more than three sprays per season. Chlorothalonil is the only Group M5 fungicide. The fungal targets for chlorothalonil are black spot, botrytis bunch rot and downy mildew.

Make sure to take the time to speak to your Agronomist regarding this eBulletin for further usage clarification.

Pomefruit and Stone fruit – Once pruning or hedging is carried out, a spray of a copper-based fungicide soon after this exercise will provide protection against possible bacterial infections entering the limb wounds then ideally applied again before budburst. Oils are required for scale and mite eggs during the latter part of the dormant period and the most effective application is when used with high water volumes. This is achieved when the “instead of the trees” are showing signs to the point of runoff – an optimum pest control strategy
for the season ahead.

Citrus – With the winter navel harvest now underway it is a good time to make some observations and records. Crop loads can give an indication of what sort of flowering to expect next spring and may help determine what strategies you can implement in each block during winter to manage this. Winter GA treatment may be an option if you expect a heavy flower, lo-bi urea if you expect a light flower. Pruning and hedging after harvest can also be used to help regulate your crop load and fruit quality next season. Pruning, hedging and skirting are also useful tools in the management of citrus gall wasp. DPI research showed the removal of galls from the tree at least two months prior to expected emergence is effective in stopping the life cycle without having to burn or mulch removed galls.

Observations of red scale and other pests should also be recorded so that a management program can be implemented in spring. Targeting juveniles early in the season is a more effective pest control strategy. Think about what new weeds may have ‘suddenly appeared’ in your orchard or ‘old favourites’ that seem to no longer be controlled by your current weed management strategies and make a new weed control plan for the coming season. For suggestions or help please contact your local Yenda Prods Horticulture Agronomist to assist in your decision making.