Lychees have been grown in Australia for over fifty years notwithstanding that they are hard to grow with consistent yields.
But the industry has started to expand recently along the districts of far north Queensland, including the Atherton Tablelands with the new growers waiting out the six-year lead to bearing and lifting the industry to perhaps 400 growers.
The formation of ULMA – the industry’s United Lychee Marketing Association based in Brisbane that assists growers by building markets and organising shipments of the fresh fruit exports to seasonal markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, the Pacific and the Middle East has been a positive factor.
Martin Joyce is a Queensland grower with a property of about thirteen hectares and 2,500 lychee trees located about thirty-five kilometres south of Ingham.
Martin says he is a full-time grower but he is getting on in years and is always trying to introduce new, easier, or certainly less labour-intensive solutions into his farming practices.
His 2,500 trees are about thirty or more years of age and were planted on a nine-metre row by seven metre tree pattern (although many more recent plantings are now on an eight by four metre spacing).
Like many other tree crops lychees can assume a large tree shape and canopy as they mature and this makes spraying into a canopy that has quite large leaf sizes a challenge.
But Martin uses contractors to mechanically prune his lychee trees each year aiming for a smaller shape at about four metres in height which also aids hand harvesting.
An appropriate spray regime is also important as lychees are subjected to a number of pests including moths, mites and borers that reduce yields and in some cases fruit quality.
Martin Joyce since 1996 has employed a Silvan Suntuff 1000 litre sprayer as his principal unit but he recently decided to upgrade to a new sprayer resulting in the purchase of a new Silvan 2000 litre Supaflo trailed sprayer through his local Silvan dealer NQAS based in Ingham.
The sprayer was also delivered, calibrated and commissioned by Hamish Howarth from NQAS with support from Frank Torrisi Silvan’s Townsville based representative for north Queensland.
Martin says he is completely happy with the larger tank capacity and more up to date Silvan Supaflo.
The Supaflo is a range of Silvan sprayers that provides highly effective spray coverage for a wide range of crops including grapes, apples, citrus, bananas, peaches and also the growing list of sub-tropical tree crops.
Proven Supaflo features including the 900mm axial flow fan with air straitening vanes, the choice of high pressure diaphragm pumps ensures that the Silvan Supaflo sprayer range delivers consistent and reliable spray results.
There is an extensive choice of features available including axle options and electric controls for in the tractor cabin use so that the sprayer can be equipped to suit a wide range of ground surface or crop variables.
For technical specifications of a Silvan Supaflo Sprayer to suit specific requirements email [email protected] or see the website silvan.com.au or call 1300 SILVAN (1300 745 826) for local dealer information.
Hamish Howarth from NQAS Ingham handing over the new Silvan 2000 Litre Supaflo sprayer to Ingham district Lychee farmer Martin Joyce.