INTENSIFICATION OF TREE FRUIT PRODUCTION: CURRENT CONSTRAINTS, RELEVANT RESEARCH AND AN ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM STRATEGY FOR THE 1980s

J.E. Jackson, M.S. Parry, C.P. Stephens
By intensive production we mean the use of systems which maximise output per unit of land. The key to this is maximum energy interception and conversion into economic yield over the orchard lifetime. Progress to date has been largely achieved by increasing density of planting which reduces the number of years needed to attain ceiling levels of energy interception and yield and which has involved the use of M.9 rootstock which conveys high cropping efficiency. The old-style orchard where the canopy almost closed over the top of alleyways had, however, higher light interception at maturity than the modern hedgerow systems which rarely intercept more than 70% of available photo-synthetically active radiation per day (Jackson, 1980a). Experimental systems attaining higher ceiling levels of effective ground cover than single-row hedgerows, and achieving these within two or three years of planting, have been in existence for some time now but have not been widely adopted.

In spite of current over-production of many fruit crops there are strong arguments for further intensification. Many management costs, e.g. land preparation (including fumigation), irrigation and frost protection are area-dependent and the most suitable land is expensive and becoming less available because of requirements for urban development including recreational use. There is, therefore, urgent need to understand why the very successful single-row HDP systems have not been universally accepted for apples, what are the constraints on still further intensification of this crop and which are the key factors limiting the development of HDP systems for other tree fruits. This knowledge should provide a framework for our research for the future.

Jackson, J.E., Parry, M.S. and Stephens, C.P. (1981). INTENSIFICATION OF TREE FRUIT PRODUCTION: CURRENT CONSTRAINTS, RELEVANT RESEARCH AND AN ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM STRATEGY FOR THE 1980s. Acta Hortic. 114, 399-406
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1981.114.57
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1981.114.57

Acta Horticulturae