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Apple harvest underway after dry growing season in Armidale

Apples are being harvested at one of the last remaining orchards in the New South Wales New England region after a dry growing season.

Once producing fruit for the national and international market, the area’s production now services the local market.

Grower Warren Yeomans from Greenhill Orchards said these days most of the state’s fruit growing areas were close to major populations.

“We’re one of the remnants; our fruit growing history dates back to the late 1800s,” Mr Yeomans said.

Having just finished harvesting pears from the orchard’s 600 trees, attention has now turned to their apple harvest.

“The winter was very good and was reasonably damp,” Mr Yeomans said.

“We’ve come out of a good winter into a drying growing season and it’s just got drier.

“It’s been rather difficult from the perspective of water availability.

“There’s been one hailstorm that affected some of the fruit but, apart from that, we’ve come through not too bad.”

Female sex scent in orchard confuses codling moths

Mr Yeomans said codling moths, once a big problem, were no longer a pest issue because of the implementation of mating disruption techniques.

The technique involves the release of a synthetic pheromone throughout the orchard so the orchard is flooded with the female sex scent.

This confuses the male codling moth.

“The males fly in, smell females, but can’t find females so they’re not mating and [there’s] no egg laying,” Mr Yeomans said.

“That works very well these days; I hardly have any codling moths these days.”

However, because there is less chemical application required to control the codling moths, light brown apple moths are now proving an issue for Mr Yeomans’ orchard.

“That’s my next challenge for next year — trying to keep that one in check,” he said.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-16/apple-harvest-underway-after-dry-growing-season/7251948