Key cherry diseases under control in the Yarra Valley
- Grower Stories
- Product News
01 März, 2017
- Grower Stories
- Product News
01 March, 2017
Based in the Yarra Valley, CherryHill is one of the largest fresh cherry growers in Australia, supplying major chain stores as well as a tourism venture called ‘You Pick’ cherries.
Depending on seasonal conditions, CherryHill produces a couple of thousand tonnes of cherries off around 200 hectares of trees.
“The fruit is mainly for the domestic market, but we do export as well depending on what those markets demand,” Mr Upton explains.
“We try to make sure that all our fruit is of export quality so it can go to any market - whether it's domestic or international, the same box quality is achieved.”
The wet 2016 season provided several challenges for the business, including making cherries susceptible to splitting, while disease control was also a priority.
“At the start of the season blossom blight, a disease that can affect flower setting, can be an issue by knocking down yield so you never actually see the potential.
“It’s also a precursor to brown rot, which we sometimes see as the sugars come on closer to harvest, so you've got to keep them clean,” he says.
In an attempt to find better chemistry to improve their disease control, CherryHill Orchards hosted trials to test Luna® Sensation fungicide from Bayer.
Luna Sensation is a combination of the active ingredient fluopyram, a novel chemical within the ‘SDHI’ family (Group 7), and trifloxystrobin (Group 11).
“Quite early on we actually saw the difference in that trial program with Bayer’s R&D team - it was a very good result up front so we knew Luna Sensation worked,” Mr Upton says.
CherryHill Orchards has now used the product since it was first released in Australia, with Luna Sensation becoming a key part of their disease control program.
“Applying it early, over flowering, means season-long control of brown rot, so it’s now part of our program, Luna Sensation has to go on as a control measure,” Mr Upton says.
With some of their fruit destined for export, ensuring minimum residue levels (MRLs) are met is critical for the business.
“We can use Luna Sensation up to two weeks from harvest to meet MRLs for export to most countries and we've got confidence that when we put them in an air freighter or a container that it will come out clean at the other end,” Mr Upton explains.
While Luna Sensation has become an important disease control tool for the business, Adam Upton is still very mindful of protecting the longevity of the product.
“With my agronomy background, I make sure that we look after chemical groups by not using more than two in a row,” he says.
“We're using Luna Sensation up the front and then leaving that chemistry group alone for quite some time to make sure that we've got that chemistry for tomorrow.
“We're very happy with it, happy with its formulation and how easy it is to use so I can't see any reason why it won't still be there for tomorrow,” Mr Upton concludes.
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