Pushing Production Limits In New Zealand

Tianna Dupoint, WSU Extension

Published on: May 9

New Zealanders we visited on the 2018 IFTA tour are looking beyond tons per hectare to how to improve pack-out and profits.

With deep rich soils, a moderate climate, plentiful diffuse sunlight, and abundant water New Zealand’s growing conditions are very different from ours in Washington. Where we sometimes have to push hard to get our trees to the top wire in a timely manner, New Zealanders instead have to moderate vigor throughout the life of the trees. Although conditions are very different, it is interesting to consider how we can apply New Zealand innovation to our orchards.

Future Orchards Production System (FOPS)

Figure 1

Dr. Stewart Tustin of NZ Plant and Food Research planted blocks in 2013 and 2014 with the goal of optimizing light with a multileader vertical canopy system. For example, in this Jazz on M9 block there are 10 upright leaders with 30 cm between leaders (17,000 leaders/ha), and trees are spaced at two by three meters apart . The goal is to intercept 85% of the sunlight compared to an average vertical canopy which intercepts 50-60% of light. Good light interception and distribution should maintain good flower bud induction.

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