Agent: Dave Launder (+27 82 381 8248)
Area: Natal Midlands
2011 – In 2011 the management team had an Avocado compartment that had been farmed organically for many years. The decision was made to convert it to commercial status in an attempt to revive the trees, as there was a huge Phytophra problem with many of the trees on the verge of death. Management made the decision to go with an Atlas program, as well as injecting the trees in an attempt to control the Phytophra. They were looking for the following from the Atlas Organics fertilizer that they would apply:
- A softer approach than pure chemical fertilizer.
- An integrated fertilizer which would give a sustained release, avoiding sharp peaks and falls of nutrient availability and associated shock factors
- Adding available carbon to the tree with every application.
- A fertilizer programme that required zero spraying of micronutrients on the trees.
2012 – The astounding results that were achieved on the 2011 ATLAS compartment convinced the management team to convert a couple more compartments over to Atlas to see if the same results could be achieved. Approximately 40ha was converted to the Atlas organics programme.
2013 – All remaining non organic blocks are converted onto the Atlas programme. Approximately 240ha in total now having Atlas applied to them. In one example, a Hass compartment that had yielded between 6 and 12 tons a year when organically grown, yielded 22 tons a hectare.
2014 – Record Year ATLAS blocks set new record on farm. The last remaining organic blocks are converted to the Atlas programme.
2015 – New Record Year 100% higher than the average from 4 years before.
2016 –An expected “off-year.” Yields only dropped by 8% from the record year of 2015 and this was coupled with one of the worst drought in decades.
2017 – At the time of writing this, the crop was in the process of being harvested. The pickers had completed more than 75% of the compartments and the yields were running 40% higher than budgeted estimates. Expectations of an “off year” were confounded by what appears to be a new record year for this farm. The condition of the trees remains outstanding and the new flush of flowers is exceptional.
Notes: Avocado trees, like most permanent crops, only display a full reaction to ATLAS after a complete cycle of nutritional needs has been supplied when the plant feels the need for it. Meaning that, only once the tree has experienced the abundant presence of a specific nutrient, will it develop a physiological response in anticipation of repeat uptake and growth support.
This pro-active approach towards plant nutrition is the core ideology to which ATLAS subscribes and relies on putting the fundamentals in place for plant compatible nutrient uptake. This results in energy reserves which support cell development at times when the plant is triggered to flush, blossom, set or develop fruit.
ATLAS avocados can be expected to have better flavour, oil content and shelf life due to the supply of micro elements which are used in the synthesis of fruit flesh.
ATLAS is a programme which benefits the tree by never leaving it in a stressful position without the nourishment necessary for the next phase in its annual cycle.