Pistachio Information and Technology Groups – PIT Groups – scroll down for all links.
Pistachio Information and Technology Groups (PIT Groups) are an initiate of PGAI and partly funded by the Australian Government through Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA), beginning in 2014 in pistachio production regions. PIT Groups are a valuable source of information on all aspects of production, from irrigation through chill hours to harvesting, pest and disease management – and just a great opportunity to catch up with other Pistachio growers.
The current, third PGAI PIT Group project is PS20000
On this page you will find all presentations (in PDF format) from each of the meetings and yearly symposia and relevant photographs as well a few videos and PIT Group Meeting report summaries.
The majority of PIT Group meetings have been filmed by James Simpfendorfer and supplied to PGAI for use on this website. PGAI extend its gratitude to James for doing this – it is a fantastic record of the PIT Group activities over the years. The videos prior to July 2022 can be found at https://www.pgai.com.au/industry-videos/ All PIT Group meetings from July 2022 have a dedicated page which can be accessed from the links below. A password may be required.
Technology Transfer to Pistachio growers utilising regional grower groups.
The outputs from this project will be:
- Establishment of Pistachio ‘Tech Groups’ for growers within three regional areas of the Riverland. Mildura/Robinvale and Swan Hill.
- Regular communications and interaction between growers within the specific regions.
- A program of a minimum of two ‘Tech Group’ meetings/field days in each of the regions at relevant times of the production cycle.
- The utilisation of Australian and/or International Pistachio experts/technicians in ‘roadshows’ throughout the growing regions to give presentations on their specific areas of expertise.
- Compilation of technical information from overseas and Australia and the presentation of the material in a range of formats that can be utilised by any grower within the pistachio industry.
- Maintenance of an industry consultancy/advisor list and the delivery of current and up to date industry information to ensure a consistent message is being delivered to all Australian Pistachio growers.
- Maintenance and expansion of the linkages between the Australian Pistachio Industry and the research and growing communities in the USA, Turkey, Iran and China.
PIT Group reports:
Click on the link below to take you to the PIT Group meeting in the series. To return to the menu click on the ‘Top’ button at the bottom right of each report. From July 2022 each PIT Group meeting has a dedicated page with all presentations, photographs and videos.
- November 2023 PIT Group Sessions, Kyalite, NSW and Waikerie, SA – opens a new page
- September 2023 PIT Group Session and Symposium, Mildura, Vic. – opens a new page
- June 2023 PIT Group Winter Sessions – Lake Powell Victoria and Renmark, South Australia – opens a new page
- November 2022 PIT Group Meetings – Bannerton, Victoria and Waikerie, SA – opens a new page
- September 2022 PIT Group Session and Symposium – Mildura, Vic – opens a new page
- July 2022 PIT Group Meetings – Vinifera Vic and Cobdogla SA – opens a new page
- May 2022 PIT Group Meetings – Robinvale, and CMV Farms Bannerton, Vic
- November 2021 PIT Group Meetings – Paringa, SA and Kyalite, NSW
- July 2021 PIT Group Meeting – CMV Farms, Bannerton, Victoria
- December 2020 PIT Group Meeting – Mallee Orchard Farms, Peebinga (SA)
- September 2020 PIT Group Meeting and Symposium – Zoom Meeting
- March 2020 PIT Group Meeting – Robinvale (Vic)
- September 2019 PIT Group Meetings and Symposium – Irymple (Vic)
- April 2019 PIT Group Meetings/Orchard Walks – Fisher (SA) and Merbein (Vic)
- November 2018 PIT Group Meetings/Orchard Walks – Paringa and Robinvale
- November 2018 New Growers PIT Group Meeting Robinvale/Boundary Bend
- September 2018 PIT Group/PGAI Symposium – Robinvale – Presentations
- July 2018 PIT Group Pistachio Pruning Demonstration – Waikerie
- June 2018 PIT Group Meeting, Waikerie and Irymple – Presentations
- September 2017 PIT Group/Symposium and Field Walk
- August 2017 PIT Group Field Day
- June 2017 PIT Group Meeting
- November 2016 PIT Group Meeting/Orchard Walk
- September 2016 PIT Group, Symposium and Field Walk
- November 2015 PIT Group Field Day and Field Walk
- September 2015 PIT Group Meeting and Symposium
- July 2015 PIT Group Meeting and Orchard/Nursery Walk
- May 2015 PIT Group Meeting and Orchard Walk
- September 2014 PIT Group Meeting and Symposium
- August 2014 PIT Group Meeting
- September 2013 Spring Symposium
The first PIT Group meeting after the 2022 harvest was held at the Robinvale Golf Club for 4 presentations then a field walk at CMV Farms, Bannerton to assess the Modified Central Leader pruned blocks.
This meeting was very well attended with 49 growers and industry personnel attending both the presentations and field walk. James Simpfendorfer filmed proceedings at the Golf Club and during the field walk and spliced in the presentations. These will be posted on the PGAI website as soon as possible with this reports and the presentations in PDF format.
PGAI researcher, Dr. Maha Mahadevan kicked off the presentations after an introduction by Trevor Ranford. Maha presented a summary of her research to date including;
- Chill measurements
- Oil and polymer sprays to offset lack of chill, and
- Pistachio Dieback
Dr. Maha Mahadevan’s presentation in PDF format can be downloaded here: PIT Meeting_19052022
Trevor Ranford spoke on a Permit for AF36. AF36, a sterilized grain product that carries spores of an atoxigenic strain of the fungus Aspergillus flavus. This fungus species occurs naturally in orchard soils and has both toxigenic and atoxigenic strains. The atoxigenic AF36, spread on orchard floors, displaces the toxigenic strains that can cause formation of aflatoxin when the nuts are damaged.
Themis Michailides, UCCE plant pathologist at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center and a lead researcher on the efficacy of AF36, has been conducting research on AF36 for the past eight years. Field studies in both pistachios and almonds achieved aflatoxin reduction of up to 45% in crop samples. Displacement rates in the soil reached 90 to 95%.
In his research, Michailides said effectiveness of AF36 is measured by the displacement of the toxigenic strains and also by the lower frequency of rejected loads in export markets.
In pistachios, application of AF36 in orchards is recommended every year, usually mid-July to mid-August (in the USA, Mid January, to mid-February in Australia). In almonds, Michailides’ research showed that the first year it is applied in an orchard, the biocontrol strain reaches very high levels and can survive for a second year in high levels. Research suggests AF36 is more effective when used every year as it helps build up the population in the soil. Michailides said if applications ceased, it is likely that the competitive effect would diminish. Nearly all California pistachio acres are treated annually with AF36, said Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board.
PGAI has a successful permit application for using AF36 in Australian Pistachio orchards, and has 40,000lbs being shipped to Australia.
Scott Gillett from CERES Imaging spoke via Zoom on aerial imaging for pistachio orchards.
Scott has been part of Ceres Imaging since 2018, where he works with Australian customers to ensure that the imagery and data they receive contributes to improving their production and sustainability
Remote sensing and smart data systems will help us make better decisions in real time, while irrigation automation, robotic harvesting and yield estimation are just part of a new generation of agtech tools that will let us grow smarter and more sustainably.
How it works
Fixed-wing aircraft are flown over the property taking high resolution multi-spectral images that provide more accurate, higher resolution images than satellite-based services.
The imagery is processed using crop-specific data models to generate specific and actionable insights that assist on-farm decision-making.
Using advanced analytics and high-resolution aerial imagery, Ceres Imaging delivers irrigation management solutions including; detection of clogs, leaks and pressure failures before the issue affects your crop analytics tools to quantify and track progress so you can make the right decisions and on-farm investments.
A Also imroved farm level strategy from; correction of overwatering and underwatering to improve water use efficiency and crop uniformity, matching irrigation system design and scheduling to terrain and soil conditions and creation of accurate, precise variable-rate zones to reduce costs through targeted applications.
Ceres Imaging integrates seamlessly with farm management software and is mobile friendly so you can easily view imagery on your phone or tablet.
Scott Gillett’s CERES Aerial Imaging presentation in PDF format can be found here: Ceres_Imaging_PITGroup_May_2022
Chris Joyce presented and early assessment of the 2022 harvest via Zoom. A bumper year with 3,600 tonnes harvested, with no major dark stain problems. Some light stain and some growers getting better than 5 tonne/heactare with the best around 7 tonnes. This highlights the fact that a good fertilizer and watering regime – particularly during nut fill leads to good yields. This will be looked at in more detail in an upcoming PIT Group meeting.
After lunch the attendees drove to CMV farms Bannerton where, although too early to actually prune the pistachio trees, Phil Hewett, Andrew Bowring and Pip Crawford went through pruning techniques and what they were trying to achieve with modified central leader pruning. The format was slightly different to previous years where the discussion was led by questions posed by growers. Several blocks were looked at that had undergone modified central leader pruning for a number of years.
Chris Joyce’s Pistachio 2021/21 Market update in PDF format can be found here: 2022 Market Update CJ
Modified Central Leader Pruning:
In California, pistachio trees pruned using a modified central-leader training system are performing better than conventionally pruned trees, according to UCCE Integrated Orchard Management Specialist Bruce Lampinen. In reporting on research that he and co-principle investigator Fresno County Nut Crops Farm Advisor Mae Culumber are conducting in grower orchards, Lampinen said unpruned pistachio trees and those pruned under a modified central-leader training system are yielding better in the early years than conventionally pruned trees. And what may have longer term ramifications, the research is showing that unpruned trees and those pruned on a modified central-leader training system have better branch angles, stronger connections and are less prone to breakage. “We haven’t seen any breakage in grower orchards trained with the modified central-leader system up to seven years of age,” Lampinen said.’
James Simpfendorfer filmed all proceedings from the day and they are available to growers who could not attend the PIT Group on the PGAI website under the Industry Videos tab. Here: https://www.pgai.com.au/industry-videos
The Report of the May 2022 PIT Group meeting is available here: PIT Groups -May session – 2022 – Meeting Report
Photo Gallery for the May 2022 PIT Group meeting at Robinvale Golf Club and CMV Farms, Bannerton, Victoria
The November 2021 ‘Spring Sessions’ round of PIT Groups were still influenced by the ongoing Covid-19 requirements of social distancing and border closures. While it looked promising that the South Australian/Victorian border would be reopened, it did not eventuate, so the Wednesday 3rd Kyalite (NSW) Pit Group meeting was a combination of Zoom meeting for the presentations, followed by a field session at Kyalite Pistachios run by Andrew Bowring.
That 25 growers attended the Paringa PIT Group meeting and 14 the Kyalite meeting shows the importance of the Pistachio Dieback problem on farms in the 2021/2022 season and the necessity of discussing this and initiating a research program.
The program for both Meetings included: –
a) Welcome and Introductions after a BBQ lunch
b) Pistachio Branch/Shoot Dieback, Dr. Maha Mahadevan – Presentation here: Pistachio_Dieback_PIT_Maha
c) 2021/22 Pistachio Market Update by Chris Joyce. – Presentation here: 2021 Market Update CJ
d) Pistachio R&D Update, Dr. Maha Mahadevan. Presentation here: R&D_Update_PIT_Maha
e) Horticulture Innovation, Dr Jay Cummings
f) Storm Damage Assessment, Trevor Ranford
Trevor Ranford delivered the Pistachio Market Update in South Australia, and Chris Joyce delivered the talk at the Kyalite meeting.
In South Australia, Dr Jay Cummings talked about Horticulture Innovation and the management of the PGAI project PS20000.
Dr Maha Mahadevan gave a presentation on pistachio research undertaken or continued from Dr Subha Abeysinghe’s work. This included the chill requirements per region and what was attained, work on polymers to mitigate low chill areas, bud opening and nut set, bud break survey, benchmarking and updating grower farm details.
The main part of the meeting was a presentation on Pistachio Dieback and what we know about it to this date – and looking for grower input into what they are seeing on their farms.
After the presentations there was an extended field walk in the pleasant Paringa heat, through the Simpfendorfer’s Permedah property looking at various blocks with different aged trees suffering from dieback. Some dieback was identified as bacterial in nature as when the shoots/branches were cut; there was a strong odour similar to wine lees. Others appeared to have begun to shoot then stopped and the shoots/branched withered and died back.
James Simpfendorfer filmed all proceedings from the day and they are available to growers who could not attend the PIT Group on the PGAI website under the Industry Videos tab. Here: https://www.pgai.com.au/industry-videos
The Report of the November 2021 PIT Group meeting is available here: November_2021_PIT_Group_Report_1
Photo Gallery for the November 2021 PIT Group meeting at Permedah Fruits, Paringa, South Australia
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in Australia, we were very lucky to be able to hold the July 2021 PIT Group meeting during a brief open border period between South Australia and Victoria on the 6th of July at CMV Farms at Bannerton near Robinvale in Victoria.
33 pistachio growers and PGAI staff were able to cross the SA/Victoria border or from near border communities/areas in NSW with the requisite travel permits.
Covid-19 safety/recording and social-distancing procedures were followed during the course of the meeting.All SA/NSW growers were able to return home before the borders closed once again.
After a splendid barbeque lunch the welcome and introduction spoke about the beginning of the third PIT Group project with grower and Hort. Innovation funding, what we were going to see today and future PIT Group meetings.This included the need to research ‘Pistachio Dieback’ that had been seen in previous years.
The program for the Tuesday afternoon included: –
b) Mechanical skirting and tipping of mature pistachio trees – Phil Hewett CMV Farms
c) Orchard floor mulching – Orchard sanitation demonstration
d) Grower discussion on Pistachio Dieback
The growers also were introduced to a large mulching machine that shredded quite large tree cuttings – mostly from the previously seen hedging machine.
Orchard sanitation – or lack of it – is a problem for propagating diseases from old rachis and kernels that remain on the tree or the orchard floor after harvest. This large mulcher turned trimmings into matchwood.
James Simpfendorfer filmed all proceedings from the day and they are available to growers who could not attend the PIT Group on the PGAI website under the Industry Videos tab. Here: https://www.pgai.com.au/industry/
The Report of the July 2021 PIT Group meeting is available here: July_2021_PIT_Group_Report_1
Photo Gallery for the July 2021 PIT Group meeting at CMV Farms, Bannerton.
December 2020 PIT Group Meeting – Mallee Orchard Farms, Peebinga (SA)
THEME – 2020 Season Update, R&D Report and Farm Walk
This was a PIT Group session aimed at growers of all pistachio trees, new and old.
This PIT Group session was just one meeting, held at Mallee Orchard Pistachios at Peebinga, courtesy of Ian Mau in South Australia’s Mallee. Starting at noon on Tuesday 1st of December with a barbeque, the meeting then had a general session of introductions and question and answers followed by a tour of the MOP property. The assembly then made their way, 75km back to Loxton for a session with Anthony Wachtel, Josh Fielke and Mark Skewes at the Almond Board of Australia’s Centre of Excellence trial site just out of Loxton.
The program commenced at 12:30 pm on Tuesday 1st of December.
The program for the Tuesday afternoon included: –
b) Interactive open question and answer on the season, oil sprays, bare limb growth etc.
c) A brief update on the 2019/20 season, harvest quality and potential price by Chris Joyce.
d) A tour of the extensive MOP plantings, irrigation system, harvest equipment, pre-plant trees/nursery and central leader pruning sites.
e) Drive back to Loxton for a 5.15pm meeting with….
f) ABA Centre of Excellence orchard trial site.
The December 2020 PIT Group grower’s session at Mallee Orchard Pistachios (MOP) at Peebinga on the 1st h of December 2020 was a great success with 35 attending despite the long drive out to the orchard and the gale force winds. Covid-19 protocols were followed with an attendance form filled in and hand sanitiser made available as well as social distancing adhered to.
Being possibly the final PIT Group Meeting for the current project, and at reasonably short notice due to the changing Covid-19 restrictions, it was very pleasing to see 35 pistachio industry people attend the most isolated session we have had at Mallee Orchard Pistachios.
Report on the meeting – Link:Dec_2020_PITGroup_Report
Photo Gallery for the December 2020 PIT Group meeting at Peebinga.
September 2020 PIT Group Meeting and Symposium – Zoom Meeting
THEME – 2020 Spring PITGroup and Symposium.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions the 2020 Spring Symposium and PITGroup was held as a Zoom Meeting with the agenda and presentations as follows;
2:00 PM Symposium commences, detail Zoom procedures, Welcome by the President.
2:05 PM ‘Overview of the season’, Chris Joyce, Chair Pistachio R&D Committee; Link: 2020 Market Update_Chris Joyce_30th September 2020
2:25 PM ‘Pathogens and other factors contributing to Dark Stain on Pistachio Shells’
AgXtra Team; Link: Pistachio Dark Staining Projecxt Report_AgXtra_30th September 2020
2:45 PM ‘R&D update’. Dr Subha Abeysinghe, Pistachio Researcher, PGAI; Link: R&D Report-Subha Abeysinghe_30th September 2020
3:05 PM ‘Pistachio opportunities, marketing and promotions’, Nigel Carey, CEO, Nut Producers Australia; Link: PGAI Marketing Presentation 2020_Nigel Carey_30th September 2020
3:25 PM ‘Sustaining energy enhancement on Victorian farms’., Anthea Derrington, Policy Manager, Agriculture Policy, Agriculture Victoria; Link: Energy Audits_Pistachio growers Symposium_September 2020
3:45 PM Q&A
March 2020 PIT Group Meeting – Robinvale (Vic)
THEME – View the Operation of A New Pistachio Harvester.
- Report on the meeting – Link: March 2020 PIT Session
September 2019 PIT Group Meetings and Symposium – Irymple (Vic)
THEME – UPDATES ON R&D, WATER, ORCHARD TOOLS
- Update current research in Australia on Pistachios.
- Discussions on irrigation and water.
- Provide a forum for questions and answers in relation to establishing orchards and orchard management.
- Update members on PGAI activities.
The 2019 September PIT Group meeting and PGAI Spring Symposium was held at Irymple in Victoria. A good attendance saw pistachio growers updated on the 2018/2019 season, and many R&D updates. There were also talks from the sponsors on various aspects of pistachio production and monitoring.
- Chris Joyce: Season Update – APPC, – Link: 2019 Market Update CJ
- Dr Subha Abeysinghe: Pistachio Research Update – Link: Symposium-2019
- Stuart Pettigrew: Insects – Nasties and Beneficials?. – Link: 190911 Pistachio AGM – PS16000 (Managing Insects)
- Dr Belinda (Brandy) Rawnsley: Dark Stain – What have we found? – Link: Pistachio Dark Staining PGAI Symposium 11Sept 2019
- Charlie Griffiths: Irrigation Systems Update – TORO Australia – Link: Irrigation Update
- Cedric Geffen: Soil Moisture Management Solutions – Croplogic – Link: Pistachio Spring Symposium_110919
- Damien Heintze: Gross Margin Improvement with Soil Microbiology – Link: Almond Farm Results Pistachio Symposium Sep 2019
Report for the September 2019 PIT Group can be found here. – Link: (soon)
April 2019 PIT Group Meetings/Orchard Walks – Fisher (SA) and Merbein (Vic)
The 2019 Autumn Sessions of the PGAI PIT Group program was well attended in the two locations (Riverland and Sunraysia) at which the meetings were held.
On Wednesday 10th of April there were 18 growers and presenters at Darin Gladigau’s picturesque riverfront Fisher property located about half-way between Blanchetown and Swan Reach in South Australia. This round highlighted the feedback mechanism PGAI has in place to obtain and deliver information requested by growers – as topics for PIT Group meetings. Phil Sims had contacted us requesting more information/clarification on male pollinators and percentages of male trees in recent plantings. Martin Simpfendorfer had also contacted us with regard to apical dominant growth in some of his trees in Paringa.Dr. Ben Thomas gave a detailed talk on pollination in pistachio trees and percentages of male trees plated both here and overseas. He talked on the reason for blank nuts and the importance of boron applications at the green tip of bud burst and the various percentage male plantings – from the over-the-top 25% at Darin’s property (most males scheduled for budding over to females), to the 11% of earlier plantings and the now usual 4% of the majority of newer orchards. One grower was planting as low as 2% and this will be watched with interest in the coming years. An interesting aside is that Peter Holt on his property near Robinvale has planted a wind break of male trees completely surrounding his orchard – again to be watched with great interest in future years.Trevor Ranford delivered Chris Joyce’s talk on the preliminary outcomes of the 2018/19 season and harvest. Crop levels are down 50 to 75% but still the largest off-crop on record processed through APPC. Fuller results of each individual orchard will be sent to the growers in the near future. Pistachio Industry Researcher Dr. Subha Abeysinghe delivered a talk on her research program – now underway – developed in conjunction with the Pistachio R&D Committee. Her talk encompassed blank nuts, how and why they occur which tied in with Ben Thomas’s talk, a long-term trial involving young Kerman trees, increasing zinc absorption in the field and pollination versus nut quality. Subha also touched on the introductory trial on the use of polymer technology to increase chill in Pistachio orchards conducted by Dr Shane Phillips from Landmark. This trial involving only 4 trees as a pre-trial has found that the use of spray applied polymer technology can increase chill portions in the trees ensuring the 59 chill portions required can be reached, thus ensuring good crop set. This trial is likely to continue.The final speaker at both meetings was Tim Beard who is not only a pistachio grower but a QA assessor as well. As the purchasers of the majority of the pistachio crop in Australia are the large supermarkets the need for on-farm QA is imperative. Tim highlighted the programs available and the level of QA the growers should be seeking. With the development of the new APPC processing facility at Robinvale immanent, the need for all pistachio nuts to come from properties with a QA program is vital. If the QA program is not signed-off, the nuts will have to be run separately which will incur added costs to the growers and slow the processing down.Following the presentations at each property there were field walks looking at tree pruning methodology, harvest effectiveness and density of males (and pruning of them).The Merbein meeting at Tim Beard’s property had 19 growers and presenters and followed the same format as the Fisher meeting, with a field walk looking at the pruning/planting methods at the Beard property. It must be recognized that Tim’s parents Dave and Pam Beard hosted a wonderful lunch with tablecloths and real cutlery instead of the picnic type usually used at the PIT Group BBQs. Both PIT Group meetings were started with a BBQ. Thanks also go to James Simpfendorfer for filming the South Australian session – which will be available via the Industry Videos section of the website once edited.
- Dr Ben Thomas: Understanding Pistachio Pollination / Managing Male Trees, – Link: BT PGAI presentation 2019-04-10
- Trevor Ranford/Chris Joyce: 2019 Pistachio Harvest Update, – Link: April 2019 presentation CJ
- Dr Subha Abeysinghe: Pistachio Research Update – Link: Research update- April 2019
- Tim Beard: The importance of Orchard Quality Assurance. – Link: importance of QA
- Report for the April 2019 PIT Group can be found here. – Link: April_2019_PITGroup_Report
Photo Gallery for the April 2019 PIT Group meetings.
November 2018 PIT Group Meetings/Orchard Walks – Paringa and Lake Powell
The 2018 Spring Sessions of the PGAI PIT Group program was well attended in the two locations it was held. On Tuesday 20th November there were 23 growers and presenters at Martin Simpfendorfer’s property, Permedah Fruits, just outside of Paringa in South Australia.
Dr. Ben Thomas gave a detailed talk on nutrition for pistachio trees for the Spring season with a particular emphasis on budgeting for the correct nutrition at the correct time with a focus on potassium application with respect to tree uptake and use. Stuart Pettigrew reported on the latest findings from project PS16000 with respect to insect pests and beneficials found in pistachio orchards involved. Essentially – at the moment – very few damaging pests found but very high levels of beneficial insects. Stuart is working in conjunction with the Almond industry which have a project looking at Carpophilus beetle and Carob Moth. Stuart’s talk was the perfect segue into Brett Rosenzweig’s discussion on the need for orchard sanitation particularly with respect to the problems the almond industry has encountered beginning with the 2013/4 season with Carpophilus beetle and Carob Moth. Insects that were not a problem prior to the 2010/11 wet season. New Pistachio Industry Researcher Dr. Subha Abeysinghe delivered a talk on her proposed research program, developed in conjunction with the Pistachio R&D Committee and identified grower requirements for ongoing/increasing healthy yields and tree health. An extra speaker just for the Paringa meeting was Dr. Shane Phillips from Landmark who talked on the introductory trial on the use of polymer technology to increase chill in Pistachio orchards. Shane has found that the use of spray applied polymer technology can increase chill portions in the trees ensuring the 59 chill portions required can be reached ensuring good crop set. This trial is likely to continue. Following the presentations there was a lengthy field walk looking at crop set, Dr Phillip’s polymer trial, tree health and nutrition status in the Permedah pistachio orchards.
The Lake Powell meeting at Peter Holt’s property had 15 growers and presenters and followed the same format as the Paringa meeting except for Dr Phillips presentation. Again, a field walk and drive between Peter’s orchards looked at nutrition, pruning, male tree density and general orchard health for young trees. Both PIT Group meetings were started with a BBQ.
- Dr Ben Thomas: Pistachio nutrition/ nutrition budgeting/ foliar nutrition/ K, – Link: BThomas PGAI presentation 2018-11-19
- Stuart Pettigrew: Pistachio pests and beneficials (almond pests highlighted), – Link: 221118 Pistachio PITgroups November 2018 (insects)Pettigrew1
- Brett Rosenzweig: Orchard sanitation/biosecurity Lessons from the Almond Industry. – Link: 221118_Orchard Sanitation – Brett Rosenzweig
- Dr Subha Abeysinghe: Pistachio Research Update – Link: 221118DrSubha_Research update
- Dr Shane Phillips: Polymer temperature trials, reducing chill portions needed – Link: Influencing chill accumulation in marginal districts Pistachio
- Report for the November 2018 PIT Group can be found here: November_2018_PITGroup_Report
Photo Gallery for the November 2018 PIT Group meeting.
November 2018 New Growers PIT Group Meeting Robinvale/Boundary Bend
The 2018 Spring Sessions of the PGAI PIT Group program included a third meeting aimed specifically at new growers and those who are considering growing pistachios. The meeting was well attended at the Robinvale Golf Club with 24 registered to attend.
Dr. Ben Thomas gave a detailed talk on all aspects of pistachio orchards, from site selection water and nutrition for pistachio trees with emphasis on budgeting for the correct nutrition at the correct time with a focus on nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium application with respect to tree uptake and use. Craig Feutrill delivered Stuart Pettigrew’s talk as he was unavailable for this meeting and reported on the latest findings from project PS16000 with respect to insect pests and beneficials found in pistachio orchards involved. Essentially – at the moment – very few damaging pests found but very high levels of beneficial insects. Stuart is working in conjunction with the Almond industry which have a project looking at Carpophilus beetle and Carob Moth. The message from Stuart’s talk was the perfect segue into Brett Rosenzweig’s discussion on the need for orchard sanitation particularly with respect to the problems the almond industry has encountered beginning with the 2013/4 season with Carpophilus beetle and Carob Moth. Insects that were not a problem prior to the 2010/11 wet season that have now developed into a multi-million dollar problem for the Almond industry with no easy solution in sight.
Grant Birrell from APPC gave an excellent presentation on what happens to pistachio nuts once harvested, where they go, how they are prepared for sale and the future developments occurring at Pioneer Pistachios to manage the expansion of the industry over the next 10-20 years.
After the presentation, lunch was supplied and then it was a 30-minute drive out to Harry and Josh Boram’s property at Boundary Bend. At the Boram’s property we looked at planting methodology, nutrition, irrigation, pruning and pests/diseases. Despite the short sharp rain showers all growers who attended asked many questions and shared knowledge.
- Dr Ben Thomas: Pistachio nutrition/ nutrition budgeting/ foliar nutrition/ K, – Link: BThomas PGAI presentation 2018-11-22 new growers
- Grant Birrell (APPC): What happens to the pistachios after harvest? – Link: APPC PIT New Grower Presentation 181122Birrell
- Report for the November 2018 New Growers PIT Group can be found here: November_2018_New_Growers_PITGroup_Report
Photo Gallery for the November 2018 PIT Group meeting.
September 2018 PIT Group/PGAI Symposium – Robinvale
KEYNOTE PRESENTER: Bruce Lampinen, PhD
UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Soil Science and Plant Water Relations, Integrated Orchard Management Specialist, Department of Plant Sciences, University of California
DESCRIPTION OF CURRENT RESEARCH/OUTREACH ACTIVITIES:
Bruce has worked on canopy management in fruit and nut trees, influence of training systems on canopy structure and productivity, influence of water relations on tree development, influence of canopy size on soil temperature and food safety risk, remote and proximal sensing for estimating canopy cover, and development of an iPhone app for assessing canopy growth.
Bruce is responsible for overseeing almond and walnut research and extension programs statewide. This includes coordinating research activities among UC campus-based faculty, UC Cooperative Extension Specialists and county-based farm advisors. Bruce has also participated in educational outreach in China, Chile, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand.
- Developing the relationship between canopy light interception and yield potential in nut tree crops including almond, walnut and pistachio.
- Developed an iPhone app for estimating canopy cover and productive potential in almond and walnut.
- Developing the relationship between irrigation practices, tree growth and nut yield and quality in almond, walnut and more recently pistachio
- Improving pruning and training systems in almond, walnut and pistachio
- Assessing impacts of painting and particle clay films on tree winter chilling and carbohydrate dynamics in nut tree crops.
- Dr Bruce Lampinen: Evaluating New Training Systems for Pistachio – Link: Pistachio pruning talk Australia Sept 2018d
- Chris Joyce: 2017/18 Season Update – Link: 2018 Market Update CJ
- Stuart Pettigrew: Understanding & managing insects on pistachio orchards (PS16000) – Link: 180910 Pistachio AGM – PS16000 (Managing Insects)
- Dr Belinda (Brandy) Rawnsley: Dark Stain in Pistachios – update of research project – Link: Pistachio Dark Staining Sept13 2018
- Dr Shane Phillips: Influencing chill accumulation in marginal districts. – Link: Influencing chill accumulation in marginal districts Pistachio
- Report for the September 2018 PIT Group can be found here: Link: September_2018_ PITGroup_Symposium_Robinvale_Report
A Video of a pistachio tree growth through the year as part of Dr Bruce Lampinen’s presentation.
July 2018 PIT Group Pistachio Pruning Demonstration – Waikerie
The second round of the PIT Group Winter sessions was held in Waikerie at Richard Isaacson’s property. A beautiful, sunny late Winter’s day saw about 30 growers attend the PIT Group. Andrew Bowring from Kyalaite Pistachios, Phil Hewett from CMV Farms and Dr Ben Thomas gave an extended demonstration on the winter pruning of young and mature trees.
Photo Gallery for the July 2018 PIT Group meeting.
June 2018 PIT Group Meeting, Waikerie and Irymple – Presentations
The June 2018 round of PIT Groups were held at the Loxton Research Centre and Irymple Research Centre (AgVic). 28 growers and Industry people attended the meetings. Dr Ben Thomas spoke on the winter pruning of mature trees, Dr Cathy Taylor gave an excellent presentation on Carpophilus beetle and the devasation it has caused in the almond industry and the vital importance of orchard sanitation. Blair Grossman continued the theme with Carob Moth, Chris Joyce described the new APPC benchmarking data set and Craig Feutrill describe how to navigate the PGAI PIT Group website.
- Ben Thomas: Winter pruning of mature Pistachio trees – Link: P2018-06-27pruning-BT
- Dr Cathy Taylor: Carpophilus beetle, problems in Almonds and the need for orchard sanitation – Link: PIT presentation Carpophilus and carob moth_CT_BG
- Blair Grossman: Carob Moth damage in almonds and orchard sanitation – part of the presentation above.
- Chris Joyce: Understanding the new APPC benchmarking data. – Link: Benchmarking 2018_CJ
- Craig Feutrill: Navigating the PGAI PIT Group website – online demonstration
- Report for this Pit Group Meeting can be found here: June_2018_PITGroup_Report
Photo Gallery for the June 2018 PIT Group meeting.
September 2017 PIT Group/Symposium and Field walk
The September 2017 PIT Group Meeting, due to time constraints was combined with the Annual PGAI Symposium. Approximately 45 growers and Industry people attended to meeting and field walk which demonstrated central/single leader pruning and new Croplands spray technology.
- Dr. Ben Robinson: Sirora leaf analysis (Presented by Dr. Zhang) – Link: Field Day leaf analysisJZBR
- Chris Joyce: Season update – Link: Industry information 2017 2017 Market Update CJa
- Abigail Hickman: Safe Ag Systems – WHS on the farm – Link: Managing safety in agriculture_Aug 2017_v3
- PGAI: Update of R&D activities going forward
- Dr Jianlu Zhang: (Research Scientist – PGAI), Update on research from 2016/17 – Link: Pistachio Industry Technical Development
- Craig Feutrill: IPM in Pistachios – Link: Pistachio IPM 2017 Symposium CF (2)
- Ben Thomas: Taking Care of Young Pistachio Trees – Link: BT PGAI presentation 2017
- David Crawford/Phil Hewett: Modified Central Leader Pruning – Link: Modified Central Leader Presentation
Photo Gallery for the September 2017 PIT Group/Symposium and Field Walk:
August 2017 PIT Group Field Day Robinvale: Link: 3rd August 2017 PITgroup Report
The 5th (August 2017) round of PIT groups meetings were held in incredibly wet conditions. The PIT Group meeting was held in a marquee set up at CMV Farms south of Robinvale. The spray demonstration meeting was intended to have a talk by Geoff Furness on calibration and spray application followed by a spray plant demonstration with fluorescent dye. After dinner – it was a late afternoon meeting – the 35 growers would assess the application with black lights The outside part of the meeting had to be cancelled as the torrential rain precluded any spraying. Geoff’s presentation however, highlighted the importance of spray coverage of all the bunches within the canopy with oil to achieved the desired results.
- Geoff Furness: The Importance of Coverage when Canopy Spraying in Pistachios – Link: Canopy Spraying – Geoff Furness
Photo Gallery for the August 2017 PIT Group Field Day:
June 2017 PIT Group Meeting: Link: June 2017 PITgroup Report
The 4th (June 2017) round of PIT groups meetings were held in better conditions than the last two meetings. The meeting was a video conference featuring Bob Beede from California. 32 growers from all regions attended the meeting.
Farm Advisor Emeritus: Bob Beede has lived and worked in the San Joaquin Valley of California his whole career. He earned BS and MS degrees focusing on Plant Science, Agrarian Studies, and Postharvest Physiology at the University of California (UC) at Davis. For 35 years Bob worked as a UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor working out of Kings County. Although he is now retired, Bob continues to advise on a broad range of topics including pest management, entomology, plant pathology, cultural practices, plant physiology, herbicides, irrigation practices, soils, and water. His goals are to extend knowledge to farmers and agriculturalists through educational programs, publications such as APG eNews, farm calls, and to perform research related to his areas of expertise.
- Chris Joyce: 2017 Season Report – Link: Chris Joyce Presentation1
- Chris Joyce: Insect and Fungal programs
- Dr Jianlu Zhang: Winter Oil Trials – Link: Review of the winter oil and chill as
- Dr Jianlu Zhang: Winter Chill – early predictions – Link above
- Bob Beede: USA Pistachio Industry and Short Course – Links: Beede Short Course – Pruning Beede Pruning Presentation 2
- Mark Heyward: Phytech – Link: Phytech Pistachio Conference Presentation
- Chris Joyce: 2017 Season Report – Link: Chris Joyce Presentation1
Photo Gallery for June 2017 PIT Group Meeting:
November 2016 PIT Group Meeting/Orchard Walk: Link: PIT Groups_November_2016 – report
The 5th round of PITgroup meeting occurred in November 2016 in weather much more conducive the meeting held the same time last year. 21 growers attended the two meetings – the first on Thursday November the 3rd at the Nangiloc Football Clubroom then onto Rodney Hands property for an orchard walk and demonstration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and the second meeting at Bob Hodgson’s property the following day Friday the 4th, at Renmark. I thank all the growers who took the time to attend these presentations and orchard walks. I also sincerely thank hosts’ Bob Hodgson and Rodney Hand for allowing the use of their properties for the meetings or orchard walks.
- Phil Lyons: The Use of Drones to Assist Farming Decisions (Falcon UAV Australia) – Link: Phil Lyons UAV Aerial Imaging
- Darren Cribbes: Orchard Sanitation (Soil and Crop Agronomy, ConNexus Global) – Link:Darren Cribbes – Orchard Floor Hygiene and Soil Health
- Chris Joyce: Chill Problems 2016 – Link: Chris Joyce – Update on Chil PIT Presentation – November 2016
Photo Gallery for November 2016 PIT Group Meeting and Orchard Walk:
Video of Drone at Nangiloc Pistachio Property – Falcon UAV Australia
September 2016 PIT Group/Symposium and Field walk
Photo Gallery for 2016 PIT Group Meeting and PGAI Symposium
November 2015 PIT Group Field Day and Field Walk – Link:
The 4th round of independent PITgroup meetings occurred in November 2015 in weather much more conducive than the July meetings – in fact you could say it was hot! 28 growers attended the two meetings – the first at Bob Hodgson’s property at Renmark on Tuesday 17th November and the combined Sunraysia/Swan Hill meeting at the Kyalite Pub, on Wednesday 18th November prior to an orchard walk at Kyalite Pistachios. I thank all the growers who took the time to attend these presentations and orchard walks, particularly considering the heat in the orchards! I also sincerely thank hosts’ Bob Hodgson and Chris Joyce for allowing the use of their properties for the meetings or orchard walks
Photo Gallery for November 2015 PIT Group Meetings
September 2015 PIT Group Meeting and Symposium
- Chris Joyce: 2015 Season Review of Pistachio Production – Link: 2015 Season Review – Chris Joyce
- Dr Ben Robinson: What have We Learned in 25 Years of Pistachio Production? – Link: Ben Robinson presentation 2015 Field Day
- Dr Jianlu Zhang: Update on research from 2014/15 – Link: FieldDay JZ
- Ben Thomas: Practical Nutrition Management for Pistachios – Link: BT PGAI presentation 2015
- Trevor Slugget: Pistachio, Project Planning, Irrigation Systems and Management – Link: Pistachio Project Planning and Irrigation Design and Management 2015
- Jarrad (Peats Soils): Bring Your Soil to Life – Link: Jarrad Pistachio presentation_Sept 2015 (2)
Photo Gallery for September 2015 PIT Group Meeting and PGAI Symposium
No Photos – if you have any and would like them displayed, please send them to Trevor or Craig.
July 2015 PIT Group Meeting and Orchard/Nursery Walk – Link: PIT Groups – July 2015 – report
The July 2015 round of PIT groups meetings on grower properties held in cold, blustery
conditions had 28 growers braving the conditions to attend the two meetings – the first at Jay
Ruediger’s property at Renmark on Monday 13th July and the combined Sunraysia/Swan Hill
meeting at the Binjara Nursery at Euston courtesy of the owner Justin Turner, on Tuesday
15th July. I thank all the growers who took the time to attend these presentations and
orchard walks, particularly considering the weather! I also sincerely thank hosts’ Jay
Ruediger and JustinTurner for allowing the use of their properties for the meetings.
- Chris Joyce: Pistachio Chill Requirements – Link: July 2015 Chill presentation
- Barbara Hall: BUDMON, ONFIT and their use for Pistachio Disease Monitoring – Link: pistachio BUDMON 2015b
- Dr Prue McMichael: Fungicides and Options for Control (Michailides Presentation) – Link: Themis_Michailides_Presentation
Dr Themis Michiailides Fungal Diseases Video:
Photo Gallery for the July 2015 PIT Group Meeting and Orchard/Nursery Walk
May 2015 PIT Group Meeting and Orchard Walk – Link: PIT Groups – May 2015 – report
The May 2015 round of PIT groups meetings on grower properties was a definite success with 40 growers attending the three meetings – one at Martin Simpfendorfer’s property at Renmark on Wednesday 13th May, the next at Rodney Hand’s property at Colignan on Thursday 14th May and the last at Colin and Lois Caelli’s property at Vinifera on Friday 15th of May. I thank all the growers who took the time to attend these presentations and orchard walks.
Photo Gallery for the May 2015 PIT Group Meeting and Orchard Walk
September 2014 PIT Group Meeting and Symposium
- Dr Jianlu Zhang: Update on research from 2013/14 – Link: Pistachio Research presentation – September 2014
- Trevor Ranford: Pistachio Farm Biosecurity – Link: Pistachio Biosecurity – Sept 2014
- Chris Joyce: 2014 Pistachio Chill Presentation Report – Link: 2014 Chill presentation
- Geoff Furness: The Importance of Pistachio Tree Spray Coverage – Link: PGAI Conference – Geoff Furness
- Dr Steve Sykes: The Origins of the Australian Pistachio Industry – Link: Sykes PGAI Symp 2014
- Dr Jianlu Zhang: Disease Management in Australian Pistachio Orchards – Link: Disease Management In Australian Pistachio Orchards
August 2014 PIT Group Meeting
- Dr Louise Ferguson: Pistachio Tree Botany and Physiology – Link: MIldura_Botany and Physiology Nov
- Dr Louise Ferguson: Pistachios in Australia – Link: Renmark_Ferguson_2014_08_12
- Dr Louise Ferguson: Clonal UCBI Rootstock Problem – Link: UCBI_Clonal _2014_04_17
- Bob Klein: Food Safety Challenges Facing the Pistachio Industry (USA) – Link: Food Safety
September 2013 Spring Symposium
- Chris Joyce: 2013 Pistachio Crop Progress Report – Link: Market Update CJ (2)
- Dr Jianlu Zhang: Update on research from 2012/13 – Link: RFO FieldDay Report – September 2013
- Chris Lee: Pistachio Yields and Returns for the 2013 Season – Link: Yields and Returns presentation – September 2013
- Dr Themis Michailides: Controls of Aflatoxins in Pistachio Trees – Link: Aflatoxin- Pistachio Day Jan 2013 (Australia-3)
- Dr Themis Michailides: Foliar and Fruit Diseases in Pistachio Trees – Link: Foliar and Fruit Diseases of Pistachios – 74186
- Dr Themis Michailides: Branch, Foliar and Fruit Fungal Diseases in Pistachio Trees – Link: Fungal Pistachio Diseases Australia-1