Time: 12.00pm 2016
In 2009, Sainsbury's, Chingford Fruit Ltd and East Malling Research created the Sainsbury's East Malling Concept Pear Orchard to determine if the adoption of intensive growing technology could help to boost annual UK production of pears from 16,000t to 36,000t.
Four different planting regimes are being evaluated in the orchard: traditional bush, multi-V system, double head system and single stem 'Run Thru'. The aim is to demonstrate, which of the four techniques is most productive in the British climate and how the commercial viability of home-grown ‘Conference’ pears can be improved.
For the 2015 harvest the entire orchard produced a total of 56t/ha, with the ‘V’ system yielding over 70T/ha. This compares with 18-20t/ha, the average yield from a traditional orchard.
The orchard produced its first fruits in 2010, whereas a traditional orchard would have been unlikely to fruit until 2015. During the tour, Head of Farm and Horticultural Services at NIAB EMR, Graham Caspell, will update growers on year-on-year production in this the 7th cropping year for the orchard. He will discuss yields and grade-outs against yield from the four systems, any effects that recent weather patterns have had on production and future plans.
Graham is Farm and Horticultural Services Manager at NIAB EMR. His role involves innovating, adopting and adapting scientific and agronomic advancesfrom NIAB EMR or other parts of the world, and applying them to commercial growing situations, on the 220ha site. Graham has also represented growers’ views on associations, PO’s and NFU committees. Graham won the “Specialist Fruit Grower of the Year” category at the 2015 UK Grower Awards for his work at NIAB EMR.