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MEASURING CROP POTENTIAL FOR THE COMING SEASON Bud fruitfulness (or bunches per bud) fluctuates between seasons up to 30%. Adjusting pruning levels in response to these fluctuations can help mitigate crop losses and improve vine balance between seasons.
Assessing the average number of bunches present in the dormant buds and taking into account the potential bunch weight at harvest next year helps determine bud numbers to retain at pruning.
With over 15 years experience and microscopic assessment of in excess of 130,000 buds, this involves a delicate and detailed assessment of bud fertility which individually isolates each bunch (inflorescence primordium) within the entire primary (or secondary) bud. This level of detail is superior to simple cross-sectional methods because...
bunches are often positioned at various depths and orientations within the bud
bunch size can vary 5-fold within the same bud
primary bud necrosis can be present with differing degrees of severity from the entire bud being necrotic to only a small section at the base of the bud or the tip of the bunch that may be necrotic.
mite infestations can vary from several hundred mites to 5-10 mites per bud from within the outer or inner leaf primordia.
The presence of small immature scale can be found on the canes or under bark of 1 year old wood that are too small to see with the naked eye. These observations can assist in adjusting management practices the following year.
The view inside a dissected primary bud showing the main features.
The secondary bud in the view is cross sectional only and has not been dissected.