Once planting is completed this winter there will be 7,105 research trees and 12.3 hectares of trial sites across the three states. The research, funded by Hort Innovation, aims to double almond yield without increasing costs by optimising almond tree architecture and understanding how different cultivars respond when planted at high density.
Since the research team has established similar trials in California, funded by the Almond Board of California, the projects are now relevant to the two largest almond producers in the world: California and Australia represent 88 percent of the global supply of the high-value nut crop. Thanks to the geographical advantage, our scientists have two seasons in one year to conduct their research.
‘Our approach is to work with the natural growth habit or tree architecture of specific cultivars and develop minimal “low input” pruning methods to produce trees suitable for commercial high density planting,” says Dr Grant Thorp, Scientist at Plant & Food Research Australia. ‘We want to develop management strategies that are cost-effective, simple to implement and preferably “one-off” at the time of orchard establishment instead of an annual requirement.’
Additional benefits will include reduced time for new orchards to produce their first commercial crop, development of tree shapes suitable for ‘shake and catch’ harvesting, and smaller trees for more efficient water use and easier pest and disease management.
The funding statements can be accessed via https://horticulture.com.au/delivery-partners/?utm_source=Media+List&utm_campaign=3ce003834f-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_06_26_10_58&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_67f4b1690e-3ce003834f-140369341.