First Fresh Focus Orchards

In order to expose growers to the latest varieties and technology First Fresh runs a focus block group in Ormond.  This block consists of five orchards which contain a variety of Citrus, Persimmons, Kiwifruit and Tamarillos. 

The focus block has a state of the art computer monitored weather station that can be viewed by anyone showing air temperatures both in the open and under netting as well as soil temperature and moisture, humidity, wind speed and direction and dew point and leaf wetness indicators.  Theses orchards also have monitored irrigation probes which measure the soil moisture at 100mm levels to one metre. 

This technology has been invaluable in showing these orchards how much water is required and what type of irrigation (flood versus pulse) is best for their soil conditions.  The irrigation monitoring ensures adequate irrigation is applied at critical times of the growth stage of the fruit while at the same time ensuring that no more water than is required is used.

It is hoped that this irrigation monitoring system can be used by more growers in the future and we are in a position to install further probes during the coming winter.