Commercial Orchard

Commercial Orchard Overview

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Commercial Orchard Overview

Modern orchards have become much more intense in their planting densities and ongoing care.  Catapulting from a mere 80 trees per acre some fifty years ago to upwards of 2,000 today…commercial plantings demand a level of cultural practice and management previously unknown.

As rootstock, varieties, densities, nutrition, irrigation, equipment, and business change; global fruit and nut production continues to intensify at an ever-increasing pace.  Only well informed, funded, and dedicated growers will survive.  Increased competition, planting scale, fruit quality, and production costs must be kept in check to preserve return on investment amid shrinking returns.  All of these factors and more impact the ultimate yield and success of orchard plantings worldwide.  VisionLogic invites you to take a few moments to investigate other more specific aspects of commercial orcharding below…

 

Perspective – Horticulturist

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As both an agronomist and horticulturalist…I find myself immersed in technical problem-solving much of the time.  With agronomy’s focus being more on field crops, soils, physiology, pathology, breeding, weeds, research, and environmental impact…there is never a dull moment in my quest for common sense solution.

Horticulture on the other hand, with its primary thrust dealing with fruit, vegetable, tree, flower, and plant production…calls me deeper into my family’s four generations engaged in rural agriculture and commercial fruit packing.  As a kid, I played in the dirt, chased butterflies, and marveled at Grandpa’s big red apples.  Later, I found dirt running through my veins, mechanical things a point of intrigue, and the challenge of doing the impossible…unquenchable as growing things became a love affair for me.

   

Site Selection

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Site Selection

You have heard it said, “location, location, location!”  Though not impossible…poor growing site selection compounds the level of difficulty, cost, and potential economic failure of an orchard’s future.  Finding the right growing site requires detailed consideration of one’s…

  • crop
  • labor
  • capital
  • market
  • geography
  • transportation
  • and, dedication to the process…long term
   

Orchard Design

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Today’s orchard planting systems and per acre tree densities vary greatly.  Increased plant densities (plant quantity) maximize crop bearing surface to accelerate return on investment if effectively determined and managed.  Your geographical region, site topography, variety choice, rootstock selection, and tree canopy goals will greatly determine your project’s base orchard design.  Those new plantings being established today typically employ one of several proven site-specific training styles chosen for efficiency and overall profitability.  These systems may include…

  • hedge row
  • french axe
  • slender spindle
  • double row
  • tatura
  • mini-v
  • or super spindle depending on crop variety, performance, labor, and other factors.
   

Variety / Rootstock

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Today’s fruit and nut varieties have been bred, refined, and selected for maximum yield and quality worldwide as market demands and production costs escalate.  Though they produce what “appears” to be a superior fruit or nut…bringing them to desired internal storage and eating quality is challenging under today’s more intense growing conditions.

Conversely, individual rootstocks have traveled their own path of metamorphosis to become more specific in their ability to control tree size, boost yields, and ward off disease.  Proper rootstock selection is foundational in the overall orchard renewal and fruit production process.

Both variety and rootstock are inseparably linked to your ultimate success based on business plan, access to resource, proximity to land, and intended approach…

Where Do You Go From Here?

VisionLogic brings more than 35 years of in-depth variety/rootstock experience and knowledge to your door.  If you are trying to sort out your project’s planting details… contact VisionLogic before you begin!

   

Nursery Stock

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Quality / Results

To assure your success…quality custom-grown trees and plants are mandatory if you expect exceptional results!  Quality means properly grown, well nourished, disease free, and strong structured for maximum performance.  Custom-grown means produced by a nursery who listens to what you need, plants your stock, shapes their technique, feeds your trees/plants, protects against pests, develops desired structure, and delivers the size, type, and configuration of tree/rootstock/plant necessary for your best outcome.

Many nurseries promise quality and custom plant structure, but only few deliver what you want.  Growing quality nursery stock is an intense labor of passion, attention to detail, and commitment to long term customer satisfaction.  Please be advised that most high caliber custom plant producers operate on a contractual basis to grow plants specifically for you from beginning-to-end.  Planning ahead on your part helps the nurseryman plant, produce, and meet your nursery stock requirements...in-full.

Nursery Stock Consulting & Sales

So, please contact VisionLogic to discuss your future orchard and nursery stock needs!

   

Soil Nutrition & Preparation

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Soil Preparation

Soil preparation is to future orchard success…what auto body work is to a glossy paint job.  It is almost impossible to achieve future production efficiency…or, that elusive paint job shine…if, foundational preparations are compromised.  Proper pre-plant soil renovation starts with…

  • late summer soil samples the season prior to planting
  • on-target custom nutrient blends
  • fall soil tillage and nutrient application
  • fall fumigation (if needed) before soil temperatures drop (see “fumigation” below)
  • secondary spring nutrient and soil amenity application
  • spring tillage, aeration, and deep plowing for proper soil-nutrient mixing
  • and bringing your soil profile to final seed bed quality preparation
   

Fumigation / Pros & Cons

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Fumigation Pros – vs – Cons

Soil fumigation is an amazing tool, but often wrongly applied.  If one’s soil truly contains destructive organisms, pathogens, or other biological problems…fumigation is a weapon of choice.  However, if your soil is merely tired, depleted of base elements, stratified from lack of tillage, and in need of specific nutritional restoration…fumigation can actually be both expensive and wrong for your situation.

Killing The Good Guys

One must keep in mind that fumigation chemicals are non-selective in what they kill in your soil.  While possibly ridding your soil of negative invaders, fumigation also destroys natural soil predatory entities that normally keep other unwanted soil-borne pest in check.  Basically, soil fumigation kills all biological activity in your soil relative to the level of application saturation applied.  Fertilizer (nutrients) requires biological interaction with soil micro life to decompose and become available to your plants.

   

Planting

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Establishing a successful new orchard is hard work!  Cutting corners, pinching pennies, buying seconds, and flopping plants in the ground expecting them to do the impossible…does not work.

No Accidents

Plan ahead!  Consider carefully!  And, make quality decisions based on good input!  Then, and only then…proceed with strong commitment to doing it right.  It’s better to walk away up front, than it is to do a half-way job and expect viable future returns.  Though many new mechanical and technologically-advanced planting methods exist today…those techniques that consider the soil and plant’s best interest remain superior.  What good is planting 50,000 trees a day for a dime using a modern marvel if they die…when, you could have planted fewer with a shovel for a quarter and had them grow explosively?   Both mechanical and manual planting methods have there place and are capable of producing great results “when” rightly applied.

   

Weed Control

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Most weed competition for ground nutrition and water steals energy from your orchard and money from your wallet!  In some instances however, certain weeds (plants) with tap-style root structures or nitrogen-fixing capabilities (legumes) can benefit your soil, orchard, and save you money.  Knowing the difference and how to manage weeds to your advantage takes skill and attention to detail.

Control Information

Weed control or management relies heavily on understanding weed type, growth cycle, seed production, physiological vulnerabilities, and potential benefits.  Some weeds germinate prolifically, while others poke along.  Other weeds grow upright, while others spread across the soil surface.  Still others are categorized as annuals, while others are perennial in classification.  And still others produce reproductive seeds, while others extend tubers.  Weed characteristic differences are almost endless in nature.  Knowing how to identify each weed name, type, habit, and cycle equips one to control weeds easily and cost-effectively.

   

Irrigation

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Effective irrigation design, installation, application, and automation is science all of its own.  There is not room here to investigate irrigation’s variations or potential adequately.

Irrigation Types

Irrigation systems and equipment are all over the board in their design capabilities and efficiencies.  From hand lines…to under tree…to micro sprinklers…to automated drip…irrigation comes in all types and sizes.

On The Move

VisionLogic’s Greg Benner has traveled to global irrigation manufacturer production facilities to investigate product quality, interact with engineers, and negotiate factory-direct purchasing agreements associated with large-scale projects…worldwide.

   

Plant Nutrition

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Obvious Truth

If you want healthy kids, you feed them quality food…right?  If you want medicines to work when your kids are sick, you give them name brand names that do their job quickly!  If you want your kids to thrive, rather than struggle…you keep your eye on their physical challenges and behavior each day.  You do not feed them junk…give them out-of-date pills, or neglect granting them your attention with any reasonable expectation they will grow to become a healthy, productive, essential part in society.

Plants Need Love Too!

Plants are no different…  If you want your plants to start, grow, thrive, and be a strong member in your overall crop planting…feed them quality, well-formulated, physically gentle, easily-assimilated, and targeted nutritional food.  Effective products cost money because quality and research are not cheap.  Less expensive knock-offs claiming equal results rarely deliver what they promise.

   

Integrated Pest Management

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What Approach?

Anyone can go in with the annihilation theory to control unwanted insect, microorganism, or pathogenic pests.  But, is this approach best for your specific growing environment, plants, or business objectives?  In many cases…integrated pest management offers a better option as it uses refined control methods to manage natural pest – predator interaction to achieve safe sustainable pest-to-predator balance.

Predators

Most detrimental insects, microorganisms, or pathogenic pests have their predatory counterpart in nature.  Predators are those beneficial entities, that feed on or parasitize other more damaging pests.  “Big stick” chemical, micro-cide, or inoculant applications can bring immediate short-term control, but are destructive to predator populations necessary for future suppression or control of unwanted pest-type entities.

   

Plant Performance

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Perspective

Plants require very specialized care for best growth and yield.  One simply cannot throw a plant or tree in the ground, starve if for attention, and arrive at harvest time expecting to pick a bumper crop.  Yet, that’s what many in agriculture do by cutting costs trading solid agronomy and horticultural practice for tighter budgets and generic brands.

Plant Function

All plants or trees have specific base nutrition, physiology, and environmental needs.  Plant performance includes:  germination, rooting, growth, foliage, bloom, crop maintenance, tissue renewal, and all else tied to proper plant function and yield.  If you do your homework, know your crop, apply sound principle, supply needed inputs, and harvest at the proper time…your plants will serve you well.  If your crop, plants, or trees suffer extreme cultural or environmental hurdles like drought, flood, hail, disease, winter freeze, or mechanical damage…specialized remedies may be needed.

   

Pruning

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Pruning is the process of selectively removing shoots or plant structure for the purpose of directing that plant’s growth and productive energies.  Pruning can be performed during winter dormancy, delayed until after bloom in the spring, or during the summer amid current growing season.

Each of the above-mentioned pruning intervals applied (i.e. winter, spring, summer) will dramatically affect the growth, yield, and physiological function (i.e. internal or external) of your plant/s (i.e. tree, bush, etc.) whether you see it or not.   Just as cutting your toes off affects body performance without showing when you put your shoe on…physiological affects spurred by pruning twigs or branches off of your plant (i.e. tree, vine, etc.) do not always reveal themselves outside the bark.

   

Dormant Season

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Time To Rest

Winter brings what appears to be a time when perennial plants or trees do nothing.  Untrue!  More accurately…plants go underground to re-direct their physiological energies and activities.   They may look like their sleeping, but much goes on beneath the surface as the clouds roll in, rain falls, and snow flies!

Plants are like factories.  Every phase in their growth or production cycle diverts work toward essential functions necessary to producing a quality end product.  While standing alone in the cold buffeted by wind merely looking as if its eyes are closed…plants are really busy drawing stored food from their roots (if not robbed by summer pruning), expanding root structure, transporting nutrients, and preparing for the approaching spring rush.

   

Product Quality & Formulation

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Product Quality

There is no free lunch!  Quality costs and makes money.  Inferiority pinches and wastes money.  Quality product requires quality ingredients.  Inferior products use inferior ingredients to rob you of beneficial results.  One cannot expect to buy a premiere product or achieve extraordinary results for pennies-on-the-dollar...realistically.  If top notch results are promised from low grade products…it’s a lie!

We all know what it is like to have our doctor prescribe name brand medicine for best results only to receive “generic” at the pharmacy and suffer the consequences.  Like medication…cheaper nutrient or chemical copies had to change or leave more costly ingredients out to lower price.

   

VisionLogic Can Help!

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Today’s project challenges demand extreme technical effort to conquer.  Overcoming such demands requires true problem solvers be creative and tenacious in their pursuit of solution.  VisionLogic’s technical skill, knowledge, and foresight flow from more than 35 years of hands-on experience, strong attention to detail, and determination to deliver!

Contact VisionLogic Today!  You will be glad you did!

   

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