Newly developed dwarfing rootstocks has allowed the successful development of super-high density almond production to really get going in Spain and Portugal. Whilst there are still many questions to be answered for this to become an option for Australian producers, it is an incredibly exciting development.
Whilst planting up to 3,300 trees per hectare (as opposed to 300 odd for traditional systems) adds to the development costs, the management costs look to be significantly reduced.
Some of the apparent advantages of this system are reduced water use (by as much as 40%), reduced fertilizer use (by a similar amount - or more) and smaller equipment to manage the orchard. As the trees are already heavily dwarfed, planting can happen on extremely poor soils, increasing the efficiency of development sites. Per hectare yields appear to be slightly less than our current planting systems, but per unit production costs will be much lower. The result: more profit per hectare!
Ag Dynamics are teaming up with other interested parties to develop a trial site for this exciting system. Watch this space for more details, or contact us to get involved!
A video of the SHD almond harvest can be viewed HERE