Over the past few years, there have been several changes in technique and equipment that we hope will improve the production of our orchard.
First, we have planted several acres of high density tree systems in the past five years. Traditionally, there are approximately 500 apple trees planted in a single acre. In the high density system, there are close to 1,000 trees planted in one acre. Each tree in the high density system is tied to a bamboo post, rather than large cedar posts as in the traditional system. Although it costs more to install, the high density system will be more profitable in the long run. This is because trees are better directed towards bearing fruit, rather than woody growth. The trees put more of their energy into budding, and less into horizontal growth.
Another change we've made is installing drip irrigation throughout part of our orchard. This type of irrigation targets the roots of fruit trees, and saves water through minimal evaporation. Rubber pipes with tiny holes were installed alongside the apple trees. The pipes, which connect to a water source, can be turned on or off at any time during the season. Drip irrigation systems are more economical and are better for our environment because they put less strain on water resources.
Finally, we have purchased a type of tractor that is a pioneer in its field. This tractor has an adjustable platform that can easily adjust both vertically and horizontally, allowing our employees to reach higher without using dangerous ladders. This tractor is ideal because it can be used in the high density orchard (where rows are narrower) or in the traditional orchard. The tractor is also capable of driving itself, which saves man hours. The platform tractor certainly made life a lot easier around the farm!
We hope that these changes will improve the efficiency of our farm so that we can better serve our customers.