The HORTGRO Science Technical Symposium stonefruit field day introduced growers to the latest technological and industry developments while also reinforcing key fruit production strategies and knowledge.

Game of Fruit 2017 kicked off early on Monday morning at Scheepersrust farm near Montagu where Johan Esterhuizen farms a variety of stonefruit cultivars. Esterhuizen kicked off the day’s proceedings with a brief introduction to his farm and the conditions under which he plays the game.

 IMG_3502

DFM’s Dirk Mercker gave a very relevant talk on irrigation scheduling and how to make sure that each tree within the orchard is functioning optimally with its water requirements being met.

HORTGRO Science General Manager Hugh Campbell gave growers a brief introduction to the latest challenge facing industry namely False Codling Moth. The latter is in the process of being classified as a phytosanitary pest and will soon require strict actions from growers who wish to sell their fruit to European Union markets. HORTGRO Science researcher Dr Dalene Stenekamp followed with a presentation on FCM monitoring protocol and gave attendees practical knowledge on how to identify FCM in the field.

 

 Growers also got a taste of the latest in drone technology. Francois Rabe introduced the benefits of precision agriculture using multi-spectral drone technology. The technology gives growers higher levels of control over conditions in their orchards to the degree that the performance of individual trees can be monitored.  

Growers can also look forward to a stonefruit postharvest mobile App which is set to be launched by the end of 2017. Experico’s Arrie De Kock explained to growers the purpose of the App as well as what kind of information they would be able to access “in the orchard and from the mobile phone”.  

The orchard visit included two plum and one nectarine cultivar. Technical advisor Charl Stander spoke to growers in the Ruby Sun orchard block, Gielie Bester shared tips and tricks in the African Delight plum block, while Pierre Rousouw gave advice in the August Red nectarine orchard block.