Aiming to be at the forefront of new developments in citrus production related science and technology First Fruits Consulting provides the following services to optimize yield and quality.
Irrigation has the biggest impact on tree performance and therefore production of quality citrus fruit. First Fruits Consulting investigates and consults on irrigation scheduling as a key production practice and has partnered with Irricheck Irrigation who provides specialised irrigation equipment, software and advice.
Second to irrigation, crop nutrition is the most important production practice to attain high yields of quality fruit. First Fruits Consulting specialises in citrus crop nutrition as required by each individual citrus cultivar. Successful strategies have been developed for all cultivars including the ones that are prone to excessive alternate bearing and ones that set fruit with difficulty. First Fruits Consulting is the leading citrus nutrition expert in the SA citrus industry.
Root health assessments are done to identify limitations to optimal production. Recommendations are made to address root health issues.
Pruning strategies vary between cultivars and are essential for the production of quality fruit. Effective, timeous pruning actions reduce alternate bearing, increases fruit set and fruit size, improves fruit quality, reduces post harvest decay and optimises the application of crop protection remedies.
The effective use of chemical fruit set and thinning plant growth regulators is essential for successful production of quality fruit of a good size for many citrus cultivars. Consultants from FFC visit orchards at critical periods during the crop stage to determine the best set and thinning strategies for each orchard.
Fruit peel quality is improved through the use of plant growth regulators, irrigation strategies and crop nutrition.
This precision farming service ensures that cost effective, optimised amelioration takes place within orchards, delivering only what is needed where it is needed. Ameliorants include dolomitic and calcitic lime, gypsum, double super phosphate, magnesium oxide and in some cases potassium.
Soil classification and mapping using GIS software ensures effective planning of new citrus orchards. A comprehensive new orchard development report is provided with each assessment. The aim of soil classification and planning of new orchards is to address physical, chemical, biological and morphological limitations in order to establish a favourable root environment. There is only one opportunity to address these limitations, thereafter they will have to be managed for the lifespan of the orchard.
The latest technology in drone and satellite imaging is used to obtain NDVI and satellite images. NDVI image variations are investigated in field to find the causes and recommendations are made to address variation, using differential amelioration GIS maps and shapefiles. A useful app from Aerobotics is provided with this service and can be used to find the exact location of identified problem areas or individual trees, for scouting, reporting on irrigation, and various other geo-referenced data.
An in-depth audit of production practices and tree health during or at the end of a season, to find production limiting factors and offer solutions and training to resolve identified issues. This service is aimed at finding the causes of poor performance in single orchards, small production units or complete farms where it seems that production practices are sound and correctly implemented. In cases where disputes arise between producers and advisers this service could also help to clarify the situation and offer solutions.