Before Fruitometry scanning became available, he was frustrated at the inexact science of manual fruit counting by bay
Marc Jenkins has always described growing SunGold kiwifruit as a numbers game. At the 1.8 hectare Katikati orchard he planted in 2018 he’s focused on producing good sized, high TZG fruit in time for kiwistart premiums. In order to achieve that he targets a fruit density of no more than 60/m2 after thinning. Before Fruitometry scanning became available, he was frustrated at the inexact science of manual fruit counting by bay.
“The reality is out of my 18,000m2 of orchard when I did manual counts I was only covering 100m2.”
Marc says it didn’t take much convincing for his orchard manager to see how the Fruitometry heatmaps could be used to make strategic decisions. A full orchard scan in January clearly demonstrated that 30% of the orchard had small fruit, with unacceptably high fruit density. They agreed to bring thinning crews just across that part of the orchard saving thousands of dollars in labour.
That year’s packout indicated Marc and his manager are on the right track with the development of the four-year-old orchard. The 2022 orchard packout was 17,500 trays/hectare, average fruit size 24, TZG of 0.8 and 91.3% class 1 fruit.
Marc says he wouldn’t dream of returning to manual counting and recommends other growers consider scanning at strategic times of the growing season such as fruit set and post thinning.