Best practices: Planning involved in apple and pear crops
Those who are immersed in the world of agricultural production know that each variety cultivated implies a series of unique and specific processes that are fundamental to obtain quality products and satisfy the needs of the consumers. To get good results, farmers need to implement a strategy to plan their crops, which is why in this opportunity we would like to talk about some strategies that should be applied to prepare the soil for planting apples and pears.
But why talk about these specific fruits? It turns out that apples and pears are among the best known and consumed fruits worldwide, after citrus fruits, thanks to their high level of production, distinctive flavour and versatility.
These are very flexible and resistant fruits so their dissemination can be broad across the World map, being especially favourable in very cold or very tropical climates. An example of this is the fact that almost half of the world’s production takes place in China, but they are also cultivated in Australia, North and South America, North Africa and Japan. However, reaching this level of popularity is something that producers take very seriously and, therefore, they recognize the importance of crop planning to achieve results that satisfy the demand.
Preparing the orchard
According to Integrated Pest Management in Australia, one of the first steps that must be taken, within the planning of the crops, is to prepare the orchard. For this purpose you have to be aware of many factors such as money that will be invested in pest management and the acquisition of suitable tools, as well as the importance of choosing very well the land before the next sowing season arrives, preferably one that has a soil pH between 6 and 7.
In order to prepare the orchard, it is essential to perform draining work so that the soil is free of stagnant water and thus, its performance is improved. One of the recommendations that many agricultural producers give is to try to have some sort of a map handy that allows them to detail very well all the problems that can be found in the area, for example: poor trees, poorly located irrigation systems, diverse types of soils mixed in a single area and the direction in which the wind blows. Beyond serving as an indicator of possible obstacles, this is essential to establish the necessary corrections and maximize the benefits of the soil.
Immediately thereafter begins the process of ploughing the field with the goal to reach a depth of at least 20 inches to try to remove as much weed as possible. The second step would be to add about 9 tons of fertilizer per acre and go back to ploughing, but this time superficially. There are many farmers who prefer to add a little lime to the soil before sowing as an additional alternative to fix the pH of the same. However, everything will depend on the specific needs of the soil.
If necessary, it is imperative to eliminate as many roots as possible and avoid drought seasons or very humid soils that cause erosion at the time of removal, especially regarding the trees that are already in the area. In this case, it is important to make an accurate map of the rows of old trees to try to rearrange the position of the rows and increase the number of trees planted within a row of old trees.
It is worth mentioning that if the existence of vegetation that should be removed is discovered after performing studies of the area, farmers must perform the appropriate steps to obtain the planning permits, permits for the elimination of vegetation and environmental impact statements as a way to have everything in order and respect the ordinances of each zone. This applies also to those who are considering the construction of water warehouses or protective structures.
Change locations if necessary
Also, changing locations should also be considered in the process of planning the crops when the land is not meeting the requirements necessary to produce optimal fruit, since establishing an orchard has its costs and the idea is not wasting money on a location that has more disadvantages than advantages.
Having a cover for the crops or low-rise plants can be a viable option to benefit the soil. Why?
- They help reduce soil erosion when heavy rains or strong winds are present.
- They contribute to improve soil ventilation and provide stability to the orchard, allowing the soil to fix the nitrogen.
- They serve as a filter for irrigation work by adjusting the temperature of the orchard.
Another important aspect is irrigation. For more than 30 years, farmers have chosen to use partial coverage systems, drips or micro irrigation systems in commercial orchards of apples and pears. Today, however, many farms in the world prefer to use sprinklers since one of its main advantages is that they help protect tree buds against the damage caused by very cold temperatures.
It should be noted that these modern systems usually guarantee total coverage irrigation, which, combined with the presence of the crop covers, manages to reduce the need to use fertilizers in the field.
Burning old trees in the soil to be replanted should be avoided, because the excessive heat affects the microorganisms of the same and the availability of nutrients. If necessary, it is advisable to do it in small quantities and in a place located far from the plantation.
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