Launched in 2006, Future Orchards® provides growers with practical and hands on education to help increase the fruit quality and productivity of their orchards and help them become internationally competitive.
Future Orchards holds regular orchard walks (twice a year in each of the eight growing regions) and business development groups, and provides access to the online benchmarking database ‘OrchardNet®’, Australian Orchard Business Analysis data, Australian Fruitgrower technical articles and webinars.
The project was designed to increase production, lower orchard production costs per kilogram of fruit, increase the percentage of premium fruit harvested and bring Australian orchardists up to international competitiveness in the domestic and export markets.
The original goal for Future Orchards was to help apple and pear growers understand intensive production systems within two years, to ensure all new plantings were intensive within five years and to have an internationally competitive industry in Australia within 10 years. The project is well on track to achieving these goals.
In addition, the project monitors designated blocks with different tree densities and issues in each apple and pear growing district. Orchard walks are held regularly in each growing region to give growers first hand comparisons of the costs and benefits of adopting different orchard production systems and approaches.