The main drivers for this project are to lower orchard production costs per kilogram of fruit, increase the percentage of premium fruit harvested and bring Australian orchardists up to international competitiveness in the domestic and export markets. The project is led by AgFirst, a world leading consultancy company from New Zealand, and managed by Apple and Pear Australia Ltd.
Future Orchards 2012 aims to have apple and pear growers understanding intensive production systems within two years, to have all new plantings to be intensive within five years and to have an internationally competitive industry in Australia within 10 years. The project commenced in 2006.
The project will monitor designated blocks with different tree densities in each apple and pear growing district. Orchard walks will be regularly each year at these blocks to give growers first hand comparisons of the costs and returns from different tree densities.
The project is funded by Horticulture Australia Ltd using levy money collected from apple and pear growers that has been matched by the Commonwealth Government.