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How well-planned are you for tree fruit farming this season?

Before planting your first fruit tree, you should conduct your own research regarding production, marketing, and financing the enterprise.

When considering tree fruit production, careful planning and research is critical to your success. There are many considerations you should address and some of these may be a few months in advance of planting your first tree.

Your first consideration should be your marketing plan. How do you intend to sell your fruit? You may be considering wholesale markets however; do you have enough acreage to produce the volume to be profitable? If you plan to retail your production, who and where are your customers? With the increasing popularity of hard cider operations, this may be an option.

Book your seedlings Earlier

You will probably need to order trees two months in advance. Before ordering trees you should decide if you will be planting apples, tree-tomato, avocado, macadamia, pawpaw, oranges, lemons, pears, or stone fruit (cherry, peach, nectarine, apricot, plum, ). Also before ordering, you need to decide the cultivars, rootstock, and tree density. You should talk to your potential markets to determine what cultivars are popular now and what may be popular in the future (We can help you with that).

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When deciding on apple cultivars you will need to choose at least two cultivars for pollination. Some cultivars require three different pollens to produce fruit. You may also choose to use another type of tree such as crab apples to pollinate your cultivars. Consult your nursery to determine which cultivars work well together.

The topography of your land may dictate tree density. Steeper slopes may mean more space between rows but between tree spacing may remain as planned. Keep in mind that you will be operating equipment in the orchard at least weekly. Also, higher density orchards require more management than lower density orchards. High density orchards also require irrigation and a support system.

A high density (900 trees per acre), fresh fruit orchard may cost 150,000 per acre to establish while a medium density (150 tree per acre, e.g Avocado) may cost 45000 per acre to establish. The smaller trees will produce a crop earlier than medium sized trees so your management skills may impact your decision.

Labor is another consideration when deciding on an orchard. Will you need more than family labor and, if so, what is the source of the additional labor?

It will be several years before you begin to see a return on your investment so plan accordingly. Also, consult your accountant as trees cannot be deprecated for several years after planting. Production expenses are deductible but the trees are not.

After considering all of your options and conducting hours of research you should be able to make an informed decision.

If you really need to start an orchard and you are stuck halfway, don’t lose hope, visit our offices or give us a call and we will guide you through.

For those who have already decided, this is the time to book your seedlings.

 

 

 

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Why Record Keeping is Important in Fruit Farming

 

Production record-keeping is an important task for any fruit or crop farm, whether small, medium or large.

Currently, government agencies, lenders, and insurance companies are requiring better and more accurate records. Not only bushels per acre, income and expenses, but also weather records are becoming increasingly necessary.

An important tool for any Fruit or crop production farming operation, regardless of size, is having and maintaining a recordkeeping system for crop production. A common question that often gets asked is why should I keep production records? There are several reasons as follows: keeping records meets the requirements of various farming regulations; complete and accurate records help demonstrate your protection of soil, water and other environmental resources; records will help you analyze the performance of your farm’s cropping system; records may provide liability protection in the event of a complaint or lawsuit concerning your farming operation; and complete records demonstrate conformance with regulations.

The Recordkeeping System for fruit Production is designed for recording pesticide applications, nutrient applications, manure applications, animal burial and composting, irrigation, employee training, and pesticide drift management plans.

Also Read: Why Hass Avocado is the new Cash Crop

Lenders and Insurance Need your records

From the business aspect of the operation, record keeping is needed for future analysis of production methods, cropping history, and decision making. Record keeping provides valuable information concerning what worked and what did not and possibly, the reasons why something did not turn out as planned. As we all know, the best production methods and hybrids can fail due to weather conditions. Keeping daily records of precipitation and high and low temperatures is easy to accomplish and you can have a fairly accurate weather station. A high/low thermometer, rain gauge, something to record them on, and about ten minutes a day is all that is needed.

One set of accurate records should be enough to satisfy all your needs. If you keep good records of production, expenses, income, and weather, you should have all the required information for any purpose, from crop insurance to lenders to your own needs. You should be able to make informed conclusions regarding the past and to plan for the future.

Good records lead to better decisions and hopefully higher returns.

For more information on recordkeeping for fruit or crop production, contact Oxfarm Organic Ltd, Extension horticulture educators for tree fruit Production.

Also Read: how to grow peaches and nectrines