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Future Orchards Talk – Eating the ‘labour elephant’

APAL’s national Orchard Talk will beam across Australia next Tuesday 7 September with APAL’s Future Orchards® partner AgFirst discussing how Australian producers can map their way through to a profitable harvest in 2022.

“Labour is clearly the elephant in the room,” APAL Technical Manager Rose Daniel said.

“The labour outlook is incredibly challenging and will continue to be vulnerable to short term events like we have seen in the Goulburn Valley this week, as well as uncertainty around when domestic labour movement may improve, and when labour coming through international quarantine will be available on farm.”

With so many of these decisions outside growers’ control, AgFirst’s Ross Wilson says the key to ‘eating an elephant is to approach it one bite at a time’.

“We advise growers and orchard managers to break the time between now and next harvest into a series of milestones, then focus on the indicators and factors you can control leading up to each milestone,” Ross said.

“No-one knows your orchard and each block better than you, so your knowledge is your starting point. What do you know about past performance and what are you seeing in the orchard today?”

APAL’s Orchard Talk will walk through tools, indicators and data growers can easily capture and monitor to reinforce what they see in the orchard today and expect to see over coming months as harvest approaches.

“Our first milestone is the next two months through to November. We will discuss in detail what you can measure, monitor and plan for this first phase including planning your chemical thinning for a low labour supply, and, critically, farming objectively in a time of stress,” Ross said.

“In a year of limited labour, this process is also key to estimating your labour requirements so you can share these early and update them often with your labour providers to secure your needs.

“The combination of good data and your orchard knowledge will help you map and track your way through each milestone to achieve your harvest targets including crop load and fruit size and provide you with greater certainty in a very uncertain season.”

Register for our online Orchard Talk via Eventbrite.

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