Good Fruit Grower

December 2012

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THE MOST SUCCESSFUL plantings: • Have tree densities of 800 to 1,000 per acre • Are on size-controlling and precocious rootstocks • Use high-quality, large, feathered nursery stock • Are supported to 10 feet height • Are appropriately trained and minimally pruned • Are managed for a balance of growth and fruiting • Keep pests low for minimal effect on trees and fruit The slender pyramid system costs even less to estab- lish but is slower to produce fruit, and won't break even until year 15, when it should have an accumulated NPV of accumulated profit of about $1,830 per acre. In their studies, the Cornell experts found that fruit price had the greatest effect on profitability. A system that generates high early yields of the most valuable apples is the best. "Tree density has a highly significant positive effect on yield," the Cornell experts say. "The cumulative yield on the highest tree density was three times greater than the lowest density." When fruit prices were very high, profitability was greatest at the highest density, which was the super spindle system at 2,178 trees per acre. When fruit prices were high, but not as high as perhaps a managed variety would generate, profitability was highest for tall spindle. FIGURE 2 Net present value of five tree planting systems 10,000 5,000 -10,000 -5,000 0 -20,000 -15,000 15 10 YEAR SOURCE: Terence Robinson, Steve Hoying, and Alison DeMarree, Cornell University Tree price Tree price had an effect on profitability. "Some New York growers have their own nurseries and grow their own trees," DeMarree said. "They can afford to plant trees at a higher density." These growers like the super spindle system. When tree prices are very low, the optimum density was more than 2,000 trees per acres, as with the super spindle system, the researchers found. 15 20 Labor input The tall spindle system makes good use of labor, but is demanding in the early planting years. Tall spindle needs the best nursery stock—high qual- ity, large, feathered trees—needs tying down or limb weighting to induce fruiting, and needs a support system of posts and wires. But once established, trees are maintained in an easy- to-learn renewal pruning system that each year removes two or three of the largest branches, using bevel cuts to encourage new shoots to replace the branches. Branches are never allowed to get very large or become permanent, so pruning cuts are easier to make. The formula for success, the researchers say, is to have • Electrical ball valve controls with pressure adjust • 250, 300, 400, 500, and 600 gallon tanks • Diaphragm or centrifugal pumps available • Adjustable air delivery system • Narrow versions available • TurboSteer available • Tee Jet spray monitor available Ask about managing your spray program with the the Tee Jet Monitor 48 DECEMBER 2012 GOOD FRUIT GROWER TurboSteer Hitch SPRAYERS REAR-MOUNT PUMP MODEL Custom order to your specifications • Versatility • Reliability • Flexibility trees supported to 10 feet of height, minimally pruned and appropriately trained, managed for a balance of growth and fruiting, with pests managed to have minimal effect on trees and fruit. Moreover, DeMarree added, such trees are suited for partial mechanization, especially use of mobile platforms used for pruning, tree training, hand thinning, trellis work, and harvest. • FACTORS affecting profit • Tree density has a highly significant positive effect on yield. • Tree density has a highly significant effect on trunk diameter. • Profitability increases with increasing tree density up to 1,000 trees per acre. • Fruit yield has a large effect on profitability. • Fruit price has the greatest effect on profitability. • With high fruit prices, the optimum density is high. • Regardless of land cost or interest rate, the optimum density is about 1,000 trees per acre. • At high planting densities, tree price has a large impact on profitability. • Higher density systems reach full production more quickly. • Higher density orchards do not ultimately produce higher yields per acre. Area Farmers Since 1939" "Serving 800-827-5138 1308 East Mead YAKIMA, WA 509-457-8105 QUALITY SERVICE QUALITY PARTS 927 Wenatchee Ave WENATCHEE, WA 509-888-0355 Equipment Specialist" "Your Ag • Higher tree densities usually bring higher investment and higher risk. • The best combination of high profitability without excessive risk is achieved by the tall spindle system for fresh fruit blocks and vertical axis for lower- priced or processing blocks. Central leader (340 trees/acre) Vertical axis (622 trees/acre) Vertical axis (908 trees/acre) Tall spindle (1,340 trees/acre) Super spindle (2178 trees/acre) When tree prices are high, about $8 a tree, the opti- mum density was about 950 trees per acre, as with the tall spindle system. Economic considerations Long-term profitability is maximized by planting high tree densities, the researchers say. With high fruit prices, optimum density is high—more than 1,500 trees per acres. With moderate fruit prices, 1,000 trees is a better option. "We believe the best combination of high profitability without excessive risk is achieved by a tall spindle planting 3 to 4 feet by 11 to 12 feet for fresh fruit blocks, a tree density of 907 to 1,320 trees per acre," the researchers said. The vertical axis system, with trees planted 5 to 6 feet apart in rows 14 feet apart, a tree density of 518 to 622 trees per acre, gives best results for low-priced apple varieties or for processing apple blocks. NET PRESENT VALUE (dollars) SAVINGS! ORDER NOW& SAVE PRE-SEASON THOUSANDS!

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