A seasoned avo grower

Greg Krenske of Farmgate Spring Creek offers some wisdom on Avocado growing, following more than 35 years' experience.
Greg Krenske of Farmgate Spring Creek offers some wisdom on Avocado growing, following more than 35 years' experience. Francis Witsenhuysen

THE LAST avocado season was not been particularly fruitful for Lockyer Valley growers but one Spring Creek farmer is doing his best to prevent the same thing happening next season.

Farmgate's Greg Krenske has about 1000 avocado trees on his 40 hectare farm, along with custard apples, persimmons, nectarines, limes, dragon fruit and feijoas.

"We have about 28 hectares of those under trees,” Mr Krenske said.

His 1000 avocado trees equate to about 9h.

He said with a regular yield of about 20 trays a tree in a good season, his last avocado season had been quite low for several reasons.

"Other growers can get more than that,” he said.

"It was a very low this season.

"I don't want to talk too much on that though.”

Mr Krenske took over Farmgate 37 years ago, and planted his first avocado tree more than 35 years ago.

Greg Krenske planted his first avocado tree 35 years ago.
Greg Krenske planted his first avocado tree 35 years ago. Francis Witsenhuysen

"That one isn't doing very well these days,” he said.

"Now we grow fuerte, sharwill, wurtz and hass avocados.

"The critical thing with avocados is fertile soil and water is the main issue - they cannot stand heat - that's one reason we have a very low crop.

"My water supply is pretty low. Even guys that have water got grow tip burns on their fruit and the fruit got cooked - particularly those two days we had that were 46 degrees.”

Mr Krenkse explained how the avocado tip usually carried the flower buds.

"A lot of the branches got cooked with the heat and we cut that down, which set us back,” he said.

When the floods hit in 2011 and 2013, Mr Krenske lost many trees, although he's just replanted one block.

According to Mr Krenske, an avocado needs to grow for about three or four years before it's ready for commercial crops.

"Avocado trees are bi-annual bearing so they will bear really well one year and then the next year the crop can be down, because on the good year they take the carbohydrates out of the tree.

"Another thing that can affect avocado trees is phytophthora root rot, which is a root disease,” Mr Krenske said.

With his avocado season now well and truly finished, Mr Krenske is looking ahead to the future. And to get his yield back up, he said it would take a lot of hard work and a bit of time.

"Some grow tips burnt back off the branch but I'm hoping it will shoot out branches. Only time will tell,” he said.

"I'm doing a bit of work on tree stress. If I can get my trees in the ground healthier and change my watering program, and wait and see if I can do a lot better this year.

"I'm going to start pulse watering during the big heat, where I'll put it on for half an hour then off for an hour then on for another half-an-hour to keep the water circulating.”

Mr Krenske has also been conducting fruit fly trials with other farmers that have proven successful.

"Because you can't spray for fruit fly anymore we've been trying baits, as they are much better,” he said.

"At the moment we can attract the male fruit fly, the immature female and the egg laying female and the results have been really good.”

Topics:  avocados farmgate greg krenske lockyer valley spring creek

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