Sustainability as a business strategy at R&R Smith, TasmaniaQuality Management
AP19006: Improved Australian pear and orchard soil health and plant nutrition.
In this series of three videos Dr Nigel Swarts, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, chats with Andrew Smith, Managing Director of R&R Smith, and Orchard Manager, Scott Price, on how sustainable orchard practices have become central to their business strategy.
The business urgently needed a point of difference to survive and thrive. Andrew talks about the catalysts driving this change and shares his perspective on ‘getting started’ on the pathway to more sustainable orcharding.
He describes the long-term commitment they made transitioning away from high input synthetic based orcharding. This required a new production mindset and taking his most valuable resource, his staff, on that journey with him. The story is about an end game delivering a premium product to consumers and value adding based on a sustainable production system.
Orchard Manager, Scott Price, provides a practical slant on how sustainable orchard floor management could lead to new biological discoveries in the orchard. Using cover crops to encourage greater biodiversity in the orchard has some known benefits for pest and disease management, and potentially others yet to be identified or recognised.
They discuss the potential for the orchard floor to provide soil, water, nutrient and pest & disease services. This is balanced by the need to demonstrate that this system is commercially robust in the long term, a key focus of the PIPS 3 project, Improved Australian apple and pear orchard soil health and plant nutrition (AP19006).
R&R Smith’s Rookwood orchard in Tasmania’s Huon Valley is a research & demonstration site for the PIPS3 project, and part of the network of demonstration sites in Victoria, NSW, SA and WA.