Plantings of temperate nuts - with a strong focus on almonds - are being established near Irymple on Agriculture Victoria's Mid Area property approximately 7 km from its Mildura office. The aim is to establish a significant resource for detailed research trials and best practice demonstrations for almond producers. The site will also serve as a resource to demonstrate the suitability of the region for other temperate nuts such as walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts. Macadamias are also being planted for the same purpose.
Video: Dr Michael Treeby discusses the layout of the research orchard.
The almond plants are being established along the lines of the almond industry’s strategic aim of gradual adoption of higher density production systems. The “Horizon 1” planting amounts to the status quo and is representative of the vast majority of the industry’s current plantings. It is being used to investigate fertigation practices to improve establishment of the industry’s three main cultivars on a range of rootstocks. The treatments being applied are based on very controlled experiments on potted rootstocks growing in sand culture in a glasshouse.
The areas covered by Horizon 2 and 3 plantings represent steps toward higher density production systems. These are very structured trials to test the response of some of the industry’s Australian-bred predominantly self-pollinating varieties on dwarfing rootstocks to being planted closer together and to other ways of managing tree shape. The main theme with these plantings is the movement away from a largely 3-dimensional fruiting space to a 2-dimensional fruiting space, and represents a significant challenge
The three horizon investment planning requires a long term holistic approach rather than simply addressing problems as they emerge in current orchards. The approach represents the industry’s longer term strategic thinking and articulated in the almond strategic investment plan covering 2017-2021 and has at its core an Australian Government ‘Rural Research and Development for Profit’ project jointly funded by the Australian Government, the almond industry’s peak industry body, and the Victorian, South Australian and New South Wales Governments, and managed by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited. The agencies involved in that project are Agriculture Victoria, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.
Google Earth: Orchard Location
Irymple Research Station
This project (RnD4Profit-15-02-011 ‘Advanced production systems for temperate nut crops’) is supported by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited, through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme and Agriculture Victoria (Victorian Government), the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the Almond Board of Australia (ABA), and New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.