仔细管理为荔枝种植者付出代价

While many litchi producers in Hazyview, Mpumalanga, have chosen to exit the industry, Pieter Luus continues to run a successful operation. He explains to Lindi Botha what it takes to stay in the game, and how he balances the pros and cons of growing this challenging crop.

仔细管理为荔枝种植者付出代价
果实在12月份成熟,需要60名工人来挑选10点果园。照片:Lindi Hotsa
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MPUMALANGA的Hazyview的亚热带山丘和山谷曾经是众多荔枝生产商的家。但是在12月份收获的困难,当市场稀缺和价格被供过于求的价格低,而且越来越多地将农民与他人更换。

由于他们不断上升的价格,最喜欢的替代方案,是Macadamias。

These challenges have not deterred litchi producer Pieter Luus, however. Although he has also ventured into macadamia production, his 10ha of 18-year-old Mauritius litchis are still very much part of the farm’s success.

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Pieter Luus

栾座指出,荔枝树仍然有效50年,具体取决于他们的照顾好。因此,他谨慎关注这方面,特别是维持强大的修剪制度。

修剪屈服
Since litchi trees produce fruit only on new branches, they have to be pruned both for production and to keep them at an optimal size.

“The trees must be maintained in an umbrella shape, with light able to penetrate the middle of the tree,” explains Luus. “Litchi trees grow very quickly, and windows for sunlight must be cut regularly to ensure that the tree doesn’t die off on the inside.”

修剪需要尽快进行;事实上,它形成收获过程的一部分,随着荔枝被挑选的轴承分支被挑选。收获后,工人进行另一轮分支去除,注意不要去除超过三分之二的树枝,或者落后的产量会受到负面影响。

Branches are removed to prevent the tree from producing excessive wood.

“A litchi tree bears fruit only on new branches. So to ensure it doesn’t keep getting bigger and bigger, producing litchis only on its outer branches, we break off old branches, and the crop then grows on the new branches that appear,” explains Luus.

“Every three or four years we do a drastic prune, using electric cutters, to get the trees back to a manageable size. The yield takes a bit of a knock that year, but it’s better in the long run, as the tree then has the right shape and can be hand-pruned thereafter.

“Keeping the trees shorter also makes harvesting far easier. We aim for around 5m in height, but if they’re on a slope, they can be more difficult to reach, so we keep them even shorter here.”

Optimal fertilisation
Luus says that getting the fertiliser programme right and timing the applications correctly make all the difference to yield. Some nutrients are especially time-sensitive.

多年来他调整了肥料制度,密切关注氮应用的时机。

“以前,我们在1月修剪后立即施用氮,但这产生了过度增长。现在我们等到六月申请氮。这为树提供了足够的能量来通过冬天来看待它。在这个阶段,树没有足够的能量来产生过多的木材,因此额外的氮气只是通过寒冷的月份提高它。我们在6月和7月以90kg / ha的速度施用氮。“

随访10月份磷酸盐2kg / ha磷酸盐施用,达到65kg / ha和140kg / ha钾,这取决于土壤和叶片分析的结果。低钾水平会导致果实突发,特别是当它暴露于长时间的高温时。

Luus says that boron also plays an important role in litchi nutrition and he applies 5kg/ ha annually, spread across four doses.

“根据叶片分析,其他微元件作为叶面喷雾施用。这是在开花开始时八月左右完成的。“

Keeping the pH of the soil at the correct level of 5,5 is of particular concern to Luus. As his soil averages 6,8, he applies calcitic lime at a rate of 1,2t/ha to 1,3t/ha each year.

He also applies extra compost, consisting of composted macadamia nut husks and cattle manure, to increase the organic matter in the soil. This is done at a rate of 8kg/tree/year.

土壤,灌溉和授粉
栾座们承认他不喜欢裸露的土壤,并在荔枝树的行之间种了草。

“It aids moisture retention and soil conservation. We slash the grass under the trees when we start harvesting to make it easier to get into the orchards. The grass between the rows is cut and [the cuttings] are placed under the trees.”

果园里的土壤变化,但主要由沙子和沙质壤土组成。鲁斯使用张力计确定灌溉周期,通常适用于20mm的水/周。

“灌溉的时间很重要,也需要在行上施加水而不是在树下。荔枝在灌溉所有根的根源时尽力而为。

“一些农民相信水在某些限制times to put the tree under stress and hence induce flowering. I don’t follow this practice; I prefer applying water throughout. We’re already quite marginal, so I don’t want to stress the trees further.”

Pollination is carried out via bee pollination services, which up until now have been provided at no cost. “Litchi honey has always been in high demand, but now that macadamia farmers are paying for pollination services, the companies have indicated that they will start charging us in future too.”

尽管这种额外的成本,Luus表示,与大多数其他作物相比,荔枝有很少的投入。

“I don’t do any chemical applications and fertiliser inputs are fairly low. This means that despite litchis not achieving huge prices on the market, it’s still a profitable crop.”

假期收获
荔枝收获的时间是对所有荔枝农民的挑战,因为劳动力在一年中的这个时候吓到了。Luus于12月16日开始收获,通常在1月的第二周结束。产量从一年增加,平均为8T /公顷营销水果。

About 60 labourers are employed for the harvest. In addition to professional workers, Luus employs students who want to earn a holiday income.

“I foresee that in future we’ll need to use a labour contractor to source labour for us. This will make the harvest more expensive, but it seems to be the only way forward,” he says.

Litchis are said to be alternate-bearing, but Luus has found that with careful management, a more evenly balanced yield can be obtained from year to year.

“The trees produce a flush as soon as they’re pruned. Spraying ethephon after pruning stops the vegetative growth and forces the tree to start producing flowers instead. It holds the tree back a bit, but ensures a more even yield.”

如上所述,Luus发现荔枝和澳门群岛生产在他的农场的这个阶段是一个有用的组合。

“我们的Macadamias尚未充分生产,荔枝对我的现金流作出了重大贡献,”他说。“它还确保了12月期间的收入,这意味着我可以在1月份支付账单。我一直能够通过学校将孩子们放在大学中,并通过大学享受荔枝的收入。但这是艰苦的工作,大部分时间都在别人度假时发生!“

Oversupply and low prices
Another challenge of litchis is that the harvest must be started and completed within the four-week December-January period.

“The market is effectively flooded for a short time and prices are low. Prices also depend on how much volume Komatipoort’s litchi producers send to the market, and when. We can’t compete with them.

“尽管荔枝农民是DWINDLED,但供应量似乎没有影响农民的价格。我发现将水果送到市政市场,特别是一个问题,因为每个人的水果同时到达。因此,我将大多数李奇蒂斯出售给当地的小贩和私人买家,来自Kwazulu-Natal,因为价格更高。我也确保收入并立即支付。“

Unfortunately, the value of the litchis is still high enough to keep thieves active. When the fruit starts ripening, Luus employs security to patrol the orchards at night.

尽管存在这些挑战,但投入成本是鳄梨和麦田生产的一小部分。例如,害虫控制是最小的。

“I don’t need to apply any chemicals for pests, as fruit flies are controlled with fly traps and pheromones, and litchis have very few pests, anyway.”

All things considered, Luus has no intention of replacing the litchis with another crop over the next few years.

“At least not until I know that macadamias can replace that income.”

Email Pieter Luus at[email protected].

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