Blossom thinning

Accurate blossom thinning is vital to match fruit numbers to leaf area to manipulate fruit loading.

However, assessing tree flower numbers to better target ammonium thiosulphate (ATS) applications can be a laborious, labour-intensive process, particularly on more variable orchards.

Agrovista’s new drone service marks a big step forward in data gathering. Flying at 80m above the orchard, the drone can cover about 10ha an hour, measuring blossom density on the trees at more than 90% accuracy.

This information is then processed to produce blossom density maps of the orchard. These can be supplied at zone level or as a higher resolution version that identifies individual trees.

Maps are then ground-truthed by agronomist and grower, for example taking account of historical records and experience, current weather and planned timings.

“The resulting information really helps to guide management decisions, pinpointing areas that need treating and those that don’t,” says Agrovista fruit agronomist Tom Johnson.

“Growers can more accurately match ATS applications to need, producing a more uniform fruit set and more consistent quality and yield.”