Use a 0.125m2 counting frame (0.5m x 0.5m x 0.5m) made out of lightweight tubing (e.g. aluminium). When forecasting with the frame, fruit is counted on 60 trees per block, measuring at least two sides of the tree. Tree measurements are also taken. Together, the data allows for a crop load estimate for the block. Then you have to decide how many blocks you want to include.
Counting might take 30‑45 minutes per block but this will depend on the size of the block and whether it needs to be broken into sections.
During training sessions the ‘tree’ measurements took an average of 3 minutes per tree, for 10 trees per block (30 minutes).
The ‘fruit count’ was 30 seconds per tree, which at 60 trees per block means a total of 30 minutes per block. So overall, allowing a total of 60 minutes per block will mean you get your crop estimate done.
Accuracy of data
Accurate estimation is dependent on the accuracy of the information used. Use a realistic average fruit size which should be determined based on past experience with production from blocks. Looking back at past pack out data will help to determine this figure. Other figures used in the calculation such as tree spacing, tree height and width should be measured carefully and a suitable average used. Don’t measure only the best or worst trees or only trees from one section of the block.
Tips for accurate estimation
- Do it with somebody.
- Don’t expect to get it right the first time.
Growers trying a crop estimate for the first time using the counting frame may compare the result to their usual method. Crop estimates will be collated annually in March to form a picture of WA production for the season.
More information is available in the 'External Links' section on this page including a factsheet and video outlining the steps for using the counting frame.