Crop Protection

50% increase in crop output in the highest-yield kiwi block on Gold Tree Farms

With the Rivulis Rondo RFR Micro and Rivulis Supertif

05 March 2024, South Africa: Kiwifruit farming is a meticulous business. Malcolm Deacon from Gold Tree Farms South Africa is seeing phenomenal year-on-year crop output growth as the vines planted in 2018 mature in his 10-year-old Kiwi operation. This year sees the highest-yielding block that uses the Rivulis Rondo for irrigation up 50% on last year.

85% of Gold Tree Farms’ produce is exported and benefits from the early season (February) southern hemisphere harvest and produce goes to the EU and other export destinations. Gold Tree Farms also runs a commercial nursery with currently over 45,000 vines in cultivation, and it is licensed to produce many commercial varieties and their associated pollinators, where the Rivulis Supertif Online Drippers are used. These are run one to two times a day at 2.2 l/h flow (0.58 ghp) and delivery is split from one dripper four ways using flow equalizer pegs to ensure each plant receives that same amount of water.

Kiwifruit is intensive crop farming that requires high initial infrastructure investment, and this means the irrigation solutions for the 12-hectare (29.7 acres) operation are paramount to success. Gold Tree Farms worked closely with their local dealer and irrigation experts to design the system and the Rivulis Rondo was recommended for the orchard because of its performance uniformity. In the commercial nursery, it uses the Rivulis Supertif Online Drippers.  

Depending on the weather, Gold Tree Farms irrigates every second to third day in dry conditions and the Rondo runs at a 29.7 l/h (7.84 gph) distribution. With an inverted swivel at approximately 2 bar (29.0 psi) pressure, row spacing is 4m X 2.5m (13ft x 8.2ft)Kiwifruit is naturally a forest-dwelling plant and the roots spread in the mulch layer, so the Rondo micros create a wide distribution that provides moisture for roots to grow over a wider distance. 

Known as the powerhouse of vitamins, kiwis take three to four years to come into production. Precision techniques and farming work towards mitigating potential pest and rootstock issues. The main benefits of the Rivulis Rondo and Supertif are their high percentage of effectiveness, uniform water distribution, and reliability. 

Deacon’s farm is in a sub-tropical climate where temperature varies in summer from 15 – 30 degrees Celsius (59 – 86 Fahrenheit) and in winter from 5 – 22 degrees (41 – 71 Fahrenheit).  This region is exposed to hot days and at times low humidity, and this is where the dependability of the Rivulis Rondo is especially important for better farming practices. The vines are in pristine condition due to the correct irrigation application which puts less stress on the plant.

 Every farmer worth his salt knows there is no substitute for being hands-on in your field or orchard. But staying on top of your irrigation and focusing on products that offer broad and effective distribution and good filtration make a huge difference to peace of mind and outcome. Gold Tree Farms has used the addition of drip irrigation in sandy areas where it looks to supplement the feeding through a basic fertigation system. The Rondo Micro sprinkler are used for their higher percentage of effectiveness in delivery.  

Also Read: Indian Cotton Prices and Outlook for March 2024: A Mixed Bag for Cotton Producers

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