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Tingira: Enriching growth


Michael, Sharon and Jeremy Smart. Photo: Jeremy Smart

In Kunama near Batlow lies Tingira. With a history spanning over four decades, this orchard has weathered the test of time and devastating events such as the 2019–20 bushfires which caused an estimated $74 million of damage to the Batlow region. Tingira has continued to flourish – a testament to the dedication and passion of its owners, Michael, Sharon and Jeremy Smart. 

“Michael and Sharon worked tirelessly at Tingira for three years before purchasing the property from family in 1980,” explained their son Jeremy, who recently spoke with APAL. “What started as a modest 4-hectare plot, complete with apple trees, a house, a shed and a dam, has now burgeoned into a sprawling 23-hectare expanse dedicated to the cultivation of apples.” 

Photo: Jeremy Smart

Over the years, the couple’s dedication has borne fruit – quite literally. The orchard has not only expanded in terms of land but has also seen a progressive diversification and enhancement of its apple varieties. “They particularly enjoy the invigorating Batlow air, the pristine water, the vast expanse of land and the serene nights – all of which contribute to the orchard’s unique charm,” Jeremy said of his parents. 

Currently, Tingira is focusing its energies on improving the quality of its produce while maintaining a steady volume. “Our strategy involves replacing about 10 per cent of the older plantings each year with higher density, improved variety strains,” Jeremy explained. “This year, we’re making significant strides by covering the newest plantings with anti-hail netting and converting the remaining structured drape style netting.” These changes are expected to enhance production and packouts from each block. 

Despite facing challenges presented by high rainfall, this season’s harvest was a success for Tingira. “The presence of a larger workforce alleviated some of the challenges posed by the weather. Notably, the volume saw a commendable increase of approximately 20 per cent compared to the previous year, and packouts consistently remained high for Class 1 produce.” 

Like any orchard business, Tingira grapples with its share of challenges. “Rising costs are a significant concern, demanding the optimisation of every work hour,” Jeremy said. “Moreover, data-driven decision-making is crucial to assess the profitability of specific blocks and varieties. 

Photo: Jeremy Smart

“Technological advancements are poised to revolutionise the industry,” Jeremy said of the evolving landscape of apple growing in Australia. “Adapting to changing climate conditions will be pivotal, ensuring the survival and success of orchards. 

“An overabundance of new varieties on the market, coupled with inadequate consumer awareness and unsuitable cultivation locations, pose challenges,” Jeremy said, but he suggested that increasing consumer awareness and industry alignment would undoubtedly enhance the overall quality of supply. 

As for cutting-edge technology, Tingira has embraced innovation where possible. “The purchase of a harvest-assist platform was a noteworthy step for us,” Jeremy said. “This platform has enabled the harvest of half our crop with a single machine, contributing to improved packouts due to efficient grading of fruit.” Jeremy was excited about the potential of the GOtrack® automation system. “Turning conventional tractors into fully autonomous vehicles could be a game-changer for orchards, enhancing productivity and precision.” 

In a world of shifting climates and technological marvels, Tingira stands as a champion of both tradition and adaptability, embracing innovation while nurturing the legacy of apple cultivation that the whole family have cultivated over the years. 


We loved hearing Jeremy’s story and we’d love to hear yours! If you’d like to share your recent orchard experience with APAL, get in touch with us by emailing [email protected]. Keep an eye out for more grower stories told via our 2023 Grower spotlight series.

Grower Spotlight Series

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