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Future Orchards® Spring Walks 2020 dates announced

Research & Extension

Managing your orchard and workforce in a global pandemic.

This September the Future Orchards® Spring Walks will identify orchard management options to consider when preparing for possible labour constraints in the upcoming season.

With the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, the horticulture industry is facing limited labour supply and rising economic challenges. The need for growers to seriously plan, attract, retain, protect and maximise the performance of their workforce has never been greater.

Have you started to plan for how you will manage your labour supply and orchard activities to maintain productivity and profit margins under the current pandemic conditions?

Using the Australian Model Orchard as a case study (developed by AgFirst as part of the Orchard Business Analysis project), Ross Wilson and Craig Hornblow will create a decision tree of management options available under a range of labour supply situations.

The labour needs of the model orchard and the gross margins of different varieties will be modelled using data from OrchardNet™.  This information will help determine the value of implementing different management options.  Consideration will be given to:

  • Timing of tasks to reduce the big peaks in orchard operations
  • Modifying thinning strategies
  • Vigour management
  • Re-allocating marginal blocks
  • Investing in technologies
  • Removing uneconomic blocks now rather than waiting
  • Thinking ahead for harvest: what additional resources may be required?

At each session you will hear from

Ross Wilson and Craig Hornblow from AgFirst  who will identify what can be done in the orchard where there is a shortage of workers and how to make the most of workforce that is available.

Jeremy Griffith, Head of Government Relations at APAL, who will provide you with a quick update on the current situation in Australia.

A panel of Australian growers who will discuss how they are addressing the labour issue. Facilitated by Justin Smith, Industry Services Manager for APAL the panels will include:

Northern Loop

  • Nathan Baronio from Eastern Colour in Stanthorpe
  • Ian Pearce from Stoneleigh Orchards in Orange
  • Jeremy Smart from Tingira Orchard in Batlow
  • Brent Reeve from Geoffrey Thompson Orchards in the Goulburn Valley

Southern Loop

  • Nicole Giblett from Newton Brothers Orchards in Manjimup
  • Joe Ceravolo from Ceravolo Orchards in Adelaide Hills
  • Thom Phillips from Armours Apples in Gippsland
  • Matthew Griggs from Lucaston Park Orchards in the Huon Valley

Don’t be caught out, you need to start planning now, we encourage you to register for one of the below sessions to hear what you need to consider.

How the spring walk will run

The length and delivery of the spring walks will vary depending upon the restrictions in your region. The orchard walks will be a combination of online presentations and in-orchard demonstrations. For those regions who do not have an in-orchard walk, Frontline Advisers from Batlow, Orange, Western Australia, Goulburn Valley and Southern Victoria have prepared short videos.

The regions to hold the in-orchard demonstration will be Stanthorpe, South Australia in Adelaide Hills, Western Australia in Manjimup, and Tasmania in the Huon Valley.

Time and locations

Orchard Walks online presentation (streaming independently over two timeslots)

  • Southern Victoria – Thursday 17 September from 11am – 1pm (AEST)
  • Orange – Friday 18 September from 9 – 11am (AEST)
  • Batlow – Friday 18 September from 9 – 11am (AEST)
  • Goulburn Valley – Friday 18 September from 9 – 11am (AEST)

In-orchard Demonstrations (includes online presentation)

  • Tasmania – Thursday 17 September from 9am – 1pm (local time)
  • Western Australia – Thursday 17 September from 9am – 1pm (local time)
  • South Australia – Thursday 17 September from 10.30am – 2pm (local time)
  • Stanthorpe – Friday 18 September from 9am – 1pm (local time)

Future Orchards® is an APAL project funded by Hort Innovation using the apple and pear levy with matched funds from the Australian Government. 

COVID Future Orchards global pandemic labour Spring Orchard Walks Workforce

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