Orchard workers could find life a lot easier with a new orchard platform just getting to work in Hawke's Bay.

Corporate growers T and G have imported three of the platforms from Italy to work mostly on their new two-dimensional orchards in Hawke's Bay.

A two-dimensional orchard is one where the tree growth is trained along wires so the fruit is easily visible and easily picked. It also simplifies thinning and pruning.

Two of the platforms are at work on blocks at Puketapu and the third is at Baker's Bridge orchard, a 22ha block on Tukituki Rd near Haumoana.

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The orchard is planted in Envy and Lady in Red and at this time of year the Hydralada platform is being used by staff for tree training or tying down branches. It is also used to place pheromone ties, used to disrupt mating codling moths, higher in the trees.

Orchard manager Roland Martin said attachments to adapt the platform for picking were expected nearer the picking season. This would do away with the need for pickers to carry heavy picking bags.

The Quadlift 250 is self-steering and self-propelling with a diesel motor. It carries four people and can expand out to 2.5m wide, making it suitable for both conventional and two-dimensional plantings.

He said the platform would also be used on a two-dimensional orchard being planted in Envy, Galaxy and Jazz around the corner in Tennant Rd.

It was particularly suitable for people who did like not climbing ladders which have to be shifted from tree to tree.

It's a lot less tiring than climbing up and down ladders so is time and labour-saving."

The Quadlift is also set up to take power tools, meaning pruning tools can be plugged in.

The platform has been in use for almost three weeks in Hawke's Bay but all involved see a bright future.

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