On farm innovations that increase production innovative young macadamia tree production systems used in bundaberg - chris searle
The Bundaberg path to high early yields(A challenge to traditional thinking) Chris Searle Suncoast Gold Macadamias
Objective• Reach a sustainable yield 4.5 t NIS /ha (36% SKR = 1.6t of kernel) by year nineWhy ?• High early yields are the key to making macadamia profitable in the short to medium term (Precocity)
6 5 4Yield (NIS) t/ha 3 Traditional Predicted 2 1 0 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Year Fig1. Traditional yield curve and predicted yield curve from high input system
6 5 4Yield (NIS) t/ha 3 Traditional Predicted 2 1 0 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Year Fig 2. Traditional yield and predicted yield curves plus actual data from 7 businesses (210,000 trees 8x4 spacing )
MethodMaximise light interception• Double canopy volume every year• High fertliser (N) inputsMaximise potential productivity• Divert energy into crop not growth• Repeat mechanical pruning (every time tree grows 50cm cut off 20cm) - internal complexity• Low graft and low skirts
Maximise light interception by maximising growthHigh Nitrogen program (poor soils)• Year 1 100g N /tree /year (32kg/ha)• Year 2 200g N /tree /year (63 kg/ha)• Year 3 300g N /tree /year (94 kg/ha)• Year 4 400g N /tree /year (125kg/ha)• Minimum - apply monthly, 12 months of year• Ensure all micronutrient deficiencies are corrected – no impediments to growth
Maximise potential productivity• Low graft union (minimise wind damage)• Repeat mechanical pruning (every time tree grows 50cm cut off 20cm)• Create multiple sites for flower development at cut points (internal complexity)• Maximise productivity by maintaining low skirts (don’t cut off 2 year old wood)Divert energy into yield not growth
18 month old tree Pruned three times since1.5m being planted 35cm
2011 Original cut 2012 2010 2013 flowering 2012 flowering Old racemes 2011 floweringWeight dragging down branch opening canopyPruning promotes flowering at cut points. Often one year oldwood will flower. Weight at end of branch drags it downopening canopy
3.5 year old tree Shaping3.6m starting to take place
Not all varieties the same• Minimum pruning (A203, A4, 344)• Moderate pruning (842, 816)• Heavy pruning ( A268, 741)Pruning also• reduces wind damage• reduces leaning trees (mechanisation)
Change in the profitability equationCost 8 x mechanical prunings @10c a tree/time = 80c1,000 g N /tree = $2.50Total = $3.30 = 1 kg NISHigh early yields• Reduce debt – earlier breakeven• Macadamia a viable investment (IRR 6%)• Allows you to set up for mature orchard phase
Challenge - maintain yield 4.5 t NIS(1.6 t/ha kernel) in mature orchardsMaximise light distribution (key)• mechanical hedging and limb removal?• maintain production of fruiting woodMaintain tree and soil health over long term• Soil health - continue organic matter program• Minimise soil lossFuture - need varieties that have 20% higher yield -breed the ‘wildness’ out of macadamia
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