Growing Into The Future
Notes from Vailima Orchards
Everything the Hoddy family of Vailima Orchard does is leading edge, whether it’s pursuing new varieties or introducing multi-row sprayers and all-season platforms to their orchards years ago, said AgFirst horticulturalist Craig Hornblow.
The family also is among the first in New Zealand to turn to a V-trellis system, with metal posts, to improve efficiency and maximize the opportunities of new varieties, including Ambrosia, Jazz, Envy and Smitten.
Tree spacings vary too, as they learn more about the system for each variety. An Envy block grafted three years ago starts at 3.4 by 1 meters for the first 12 to 13 rows, then gets closer, to 3.4 by 0.8 meters.
An Ambrosia block on M.9 is planted at 1 meter apart, with 3.5 meters between rows and yields about 70 metric tons per hectare. (1 hectare is a little smaller than 2.5 acres.) Richard Hoddy said they put down reflectives to improve color and harvest in three picks over two weeks.
Generally, they’ve set a threshold for a minimum of 80 metric tons/hectare, and the goal is to reach 120 to 130 metric tons per hectare (or about 120 to 130 bins per acre), and “we think we’re going down a reasonably good pathway,” Hoddy said. “Already we’re getting 140 tonnes per hectare on Braeburn on Extenday.”
This season, Richard, along with wife, Sue, and sons, Matthew and Tristram, planned to harvest 30,000 bins. That’s expected to increase to 40,000 bins in five years as new orchards come into production.
Notes from Palmer Orchards
Water is king to everything they grow in the Nelson/Tasman region, grower Ian Palmer said, and water is monitored and limited during drought years. That’s a key consideration in his light soils with low holding capacity.
In the temperate seasonal climate, not too far from the coast, king blooms emerge and shed
before the next bloom comes on. Palmer does two secondary thinnings and removes as much of the annual wood bloom as possible. For fruit thinning, he hand thins early and a month before harvest.
He also fumigates for any replant situation to avoid apple replant disease. “If we don’t, it’s a disaster,” he said.
Video – 360 VR
Step into the orchard with Tustin as he talks about increasing apple system productivity at the New Zealand Plant and Food Research Center. (Be sure to use your mouse in a web browser or move your mobile device around to “look” around Tustin’s trial block.)
Article by Shannon Dininny.
Read the full article: www.goodfruitgrower.com