New avocado production systems are the focus of a major Northland avocado field day tomorrow.
Two hundred people from around the North Island are expected at the Maunu field day tomorrow.The commercial growers' event is being held at Lynwood avocado nursery - New Zealand's biggest producer of clonal avocado plants used to provide new young trees for planting into orchards.
Attendees at the nursery's first event of this type include Māori interests and others from as far north as Ngataki on the Aupouri Peninsula, a Coromandel grower looking to establish avocados in Oamaru, North Otago and a Rangitikei producer wanting to plant 1000 trees. There will also be attendees from throughout Northland and New Zealand's major Bay of Plenty avocado growing region.
Jen Scoular, New Zealand Avocado chief executive is among the day's speakers.
The workshop will include the operation's international business. It will also focus look at the property's cloned avocado nursery which produces new trees using plant material from South Africa and California. Attendees will also look at the property's new-generation intensive planting approach to avocado production.
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The intensive planting approach sees land planted out more densely than traditional wider spaced orchards, and more importantly cropping trees kept much smaller than is traditionally seen for the fruit crop.
This approach sees avocado tree heights kept to around 3m tall maximum through twice-yearly pruning. This contrasts with no pruning done in traditional plantations and trees of 12m-plus needing cherry pickers for fruit harvest.
Trees in this intensive system are planted at 6m by 2.5m and 5m by 5m spacings.
The newer intensive system has about 520 trees per hectare compared with typically 200 per hectare in more traditionally, more extensive plantings.
The Maunu nursery and orchard has 4000 intensively grown trees on 8ha of land. It has been using this approach for seven years.
Stuart Pascoe, Lynwood chief executive officer, said one benefit of the more intensive approach said the percentage of export fruit in the crop is higher than in the more extensive, larger trade production systems.
"We might get about 85 per cent to 95 cent export fruit from our annual crop with the intensive system compare with around 40 per cent in the traditional planting approach," he said.
Large new avocado plantations in the Far North and Tapora, south of Wellsford all use the newer intensive avocado production approach.