Chill Calculator: try it

Written by   Ken Gaudion

If you don’t have a weather station in your cherry orchard to track your winter or dormant chill requirement, then try the Chill Calculator. It can track chilling on data from a weather station close to your growing area.

Chill can be tracked in portions, hours or chill units. It can track from the date entered, up to today.
The Chill Calculator is easy to use and provides an insight into whether there is sufficient chilling for cherry fruit set this season.
The site is located here: hort-science.shinyapps.io/ChillCalculator/
© The State of Queensland 2019
© Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd 2019

The risk of insufficient chill can be lower fruit yield through lower viable blossom, variable production from different blocks depending on their micro-climate, and varieties with a higher chill requirement may crop poorly or have no crop at all.
Use the Chill Calculator
I have created comparative tables using chill hours tracked from 20 May until 18 July, to show the differences from six cherry growing regions across the country so far this year (see below).
The chill period has probably past the half-way point now, so looking at the tables we can see how this year is tracking against the past minimum and maximum hours to this point.
We can also identify those regions that may continue to grow varieties that have a high chill requirement such as Kordia.
It is also possible with the Chill Calculator to add an additional seven days of predicted data, for example Huonville (Grove weather station) is currently showing 697 chill hours. With the additional seven day forecast, the chill hours increase to 774.
There is still a lot of weather to come and should we have a sudden warm spell in some (or all) areas, then this will reduce what is currently being forecast as a solid winter chilling season.
So I suggest that you go to the website, enter a weather station close to your growing area, and check how the chill hours are travelling.
It can be used for general interest or as a management tool to assist with decision making. Give it a try.

See this article in Tree Fruit July 2019

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