New Zealand study tour 2014 (AP13702)
What was it all about?
In March 2014 ten participants from Lenswood Apples, the major producer of apples in South Australia, undertook a 4-day study tour to the Hawkes Bay Region of New Zealand. Since Lenswood Apples had obtained the Australian production and marketing licence for the Rockit apple, the study tour had two key objectives, which were to investigate:
- Growing, handling and marketing of the Rockit apple cultivar
- Innovative research, production and handling techniques.
This small, very tasty and attractive apple was originally bred in New Zealand and has been commercialised by the Havelock North Fruit Company. Its fruit size and several aspects of its tree growth are considerably different to any other variety being grown in Australia .
The study tour enabled the Australian growers to obtain a very good understanding of these growth characteristics with a view to optimising the design and development of their own orchards in Australia. Of particular interest was the techniques being used to obtain early production.
Key learnings from the tour including the importance of thorough planning, timely implementation of those plans and placing priority on early tree growth to fill the allocated space in the orchard.
It was also apparent that the best New Zealand growers also placed considerable emphasis on their trellis design and capacity, considering it as a worthwhile investment rather than a cost.
A visit to the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research showed some very interesting work being undertaken using Australian industry research funds, which will be invaluable to Australian growers should similar plantings be established here.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation
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