More accuracy, more confidence for orchards
In Riwaka, with 100 hectares of export pipfruit, Cederman Brothers’ orchard manager Nathan Binns and apprentice Tyler Cederman appreciate tools that enhance management. Approaching their fourth season using ADAMA NZ thinner Brevis, Nathan and Tyler also used the Brevis companion web-based prediction tool BreviSmart for the 2019/2020 season with the help of their Fruition consultant Greg Dryden.
Brevis is a photosynthesis-inhibiting fruitlet thinner, which mimics shading. It is applied when fruitlets are about 8-14 mm in size, does not require the addition of surfactants and is rain-fast within two to three hours. Block re-entry is possible after three days, minimising disruption. Brevis also has an excellent fit with IPM programmes.
Determining the best timing with BreviSmart
BreviSmart helps determine the best timing for Brevis applications, factoring in solar radiation, temperature, fruitlet size and variety. Developed in conjunction with IBM, BreviSmart uses weather data and forecasts from The Weather Company, an IBM business. The Weather Company delivers one of the most accurate weather forecasts, utilising an extensive network of weather stations globally and locally.
Actual weather data from weather stations closest to the orchard from 5 days before the calculation and the forecasted weather for 5 days after (incl. the calculation day) are used in calculations. In addition, growers will consider block history, vigour, cultural techniques, and spraying conditions.
Only one product in the tank with easy to use Brevis
Nathan says being able to use Brevis in cooler conditions rather than waiting for a warm window to use the “olden-day thinners” delivered an immediate benefit. Brevis is easy to measure for tank mixing, which makes him more comfortable that no mistakes will be made over the busy time of chemical thinning.
Julian Williams, Technical Field Representative at Tasman Crop, says BreviSmart gave a good indication of when to apply Brevis adding a tool to complement grower knowledge.
He said, with Brevis he’d had pretty good results with clients over all in the past season. “They like that there’s a single product going in the tank.”
Wider application window with Brevis
Lindsay Hunt, another Brevis early-adopter, has impeccable orchard credentials, starting at just 15 working in the school holidays for his father, an orchard contractor. It was the beginning of a lifetime passion.
In 2015 Lindsay moved to Gisborne to become apple orchard manager for Kaiaponi Farms. They have 67 ha of productive apples and 20 ha of young plantings spread over seven properties.
Asked by his Fruitfed technical hort rep Hugh O’Donnell if he was interested in doing a trial with Brevis and BreviSmart Lindsay was keen, spurred on by both pollination issues caused by temperature, and limitations with his previously preferred thinner 6BA, which requires two days of 18oC, “which doesn’t always happen”.
Daily BreviSmart predictions for better decision making
A BreviSmart prediction, sent each morning, helped inform Lindsay’s decisions on the timing and rate of Brevis to be applied.
On Kaiaponi Farms, Brevis was applied to 1.3 ha of Royal Gala, at a rate of 1.1 kg/ha, when king fruit were around 7 mm, directed at the top 50% of trees. What most impressed Lindsay was the resulting even fruit size and that the trees carried the crop through to harvest. Effectively, Lindsay cut-out four conventional thinner applications and only a light hand-thin was needed, saving time and cost. It was also the best crop in five years.
For the Farms’ “Workshop” block of Galaxy, Brevis was applied at 2.2 kg/ha. This block had a history of being very hard to thin. In 2019/2020 it had a big flowering and a big crop. The result was the best he had ever had, with much less hand thinning required.
Over 800 Brevis trials globally
Before using BreviSmart Lindsay says he was constantly monitoring his orchard blocks; looking at the size and number of fruitlets daily and also the weather forecast. With seven blocks spread out over the Gisborne plains, that was a lot of walking! Using BreviSmart, he checked for the best spray day and simply looked at the orchard the day before. “It was an advantage.”
Brevis is proven in New Zealand and 27 other countries globally, with over 800 trials to date backing the science. The new BreviSmart model is available for orchardists locally for free ahead of the 2020 thinning season.