Mangoes weren’t quite ripe for the picking … but it sure was fruitful in West Gingin this week, when the Southern Mango Growers Group (SMANGO) conducted a very productive pre-harvest field walk.
About 25 participants were treated to an excellent series of presentations, including updates on the NACC-funded Farm Demonstration Project by consultant Neil Lantzke; on post-harvest fruit quality management from Perth NRM’s Graham McAlpine; and on crop forecasting and national issues from Robert Gray and Boyd Arthur of the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA).
Following the talks, grower and industry representatives joined a field walk through John and Eve Morrissey’s well-maintained orchard, where they were able to view the trial site and monitoring equipment.
The SMANGO project focuses on mango growers adapting to climate change in the Gingin/Dandaragan area.
The project seeks to understand mango phenology (i.e., the plant life cycle events) and how these are influenced by seasonal and inter-annual variations in climate.
The project is investigating, and hopes to address, two principal issues for mango growers in Southwest Australia:
- Cool temperatures at flowering, reducing fruit set and consequent low yields in some years.
- Sunburn damage of mangoes resulting in up to 50% loss of marketable fruit in some years.
Some of the questions being tested by the project include: which shoots carried fruit; fruit sets and the date of flowering ;better synchronising flowering; effects of delayed flowering; and testing methods for reducing sunburn, such as through the use of shade cloth.
The project is still in its first year of monitoring, but early feedback from the four host growers of the trials indicate the research is adding to their knowledge, appreciated and considered important to their farm business.
NACC would like to thank the SMANGO for running the field day; attendees and speakers who contributed to the field day; and John and Eve Morrissey for their excellent hosting.
Productive Farming Future Forum
Any NACC Notes readers who are interested in hearing more about adapting agriculture to our changing climate are invited to come along to the upcoming Productive Farming Future Forum that NACC is running in Coorow on 10 February.
The SMANGO Farm Demonstration Project is supported by NACC through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme (NLP).