ORCHARD DESIGN

K.A. Clayton-Greene
Over the past 30 years the costs associated with the growing of fruit have outstripped returns. Although this has been a world wide trend it can be illustrated by figures from the Australian Bureau of statistics which show that wages have increased ten fold whilst returns have only risen five fold. This together with the more recent rises in interest rates and their greater volatility has meant that orchardists have had to both increase packout and production per unit area to remain solvent. Orchard design is a key element of this process and there have been major changes in such facets of design as planting density, canopy manipulation rootstocks and wind protection, etc. For instance the meadow orchard concept can be seen in part as an attempt to recognize the importance of light interception and early cropping. Most conventional orchard systems intercept only about fifty percent of the available light. This places a major constraint on production potential.

This paper reviews from a plant physiology perspective the known scientific theory and evidence which has been collected to date, how this knowledge has been incorporated into many different types of orchard. Finally it will attempt to place the scientific knowledge into an economic perspective. It is a sad fact that many otherwise excellent scientific studies on orchard design have ignored the economic realities of orchard management.

Clayton-Greene, K.A. (1989). ORCHARD DESIGN. Acta Hortic. 240, 71-82
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1989.240.11
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1989.240.11

Acta Horticulturae