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A demonstration of innovative and viable orchard systems that aim to increase the uniformity, efficiency, and profitability gains in the deciduous fruit industry to maintain our international competitiveness.

The objects of the programme are:


Focus on future needs


Drive innovation and change – explore new options


Create trial/demo blocks


Create field day sites and share results


Contribute to the relevance and focus of research

The Orchard of the Future

Phase One

Phase One is aimed at encouraging an industry shift towards higher density plantings of dwarfing and more yield efficient rootstocks that would allow the following:

  • Greater mechanisation
  • Greater operational efficiency
  • Improved fruit production efficiency
  • Reduced wastage (higher pack-out percentage)
  • Showcase potential strategies and technologies that can decrease risks to fruit production
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Four Orchards

Four orchards were identified in three different production regions, with each having its own key focus and overall objective.

Read more about these blocks in the March 2021 Fresh Quarterly.


Year established2010
RootstockMM.109 with M.9 EMLA interstem
ScionRosy Glow
Spacing3.5 x 1.25 metres
Size1.05 hectare
Trees per hectare2286
NetsFixed net over half the block (Part 20% white and part 40% natural).
  • Productivity of high-density MM.109/M.9 EMLA interstems Rosy Glow orchards
  • Effect of shade net on fruit quality and production
  • Effect of shade net on profitability


Year established2013
RootstockM.7 and M.9 Nic29
ScionFuji Kiku
TrainingSpindle central leader
Size0.65 hectare

Productivity of high and ultra-high-density M.7 and M.9 orchards apple orchards as pertaining to precocity, fruit quality, production costs, labour productivity and profitability


Year established2011
RootstockM.9 Nic29
ScionRoyal Gala Brookfield and Fuji Kiku
Spacing3.5 x 1.2 metres
Size0.91 hectare
Trees per hectare2381

Effect of M.9 Nic29 rootstocks on precocity, fruit quality, production costs and labour


Year established2012
ScionGranny Smith
Cross-pollinatorRosy Glow
Spacing3.5 x 1.2 metres
TrainingSolaxe Sud-Tirol type
Size1 hectare
Trees per hectare2381
Nets20% white fixed
  • Profitability of farming Granny Smith apples under shade nets
  • Management of Granny Smith trees under nets
  • Semi- dwarfing rootstock (G.222) under nets

Phase Two

As innovation is an ongoing process, we need to continuously look at new ways of doing things in order to remain a competitive industry. Therefore, we’re excited to get the 2nd phase, i.e. the Hortgro Concept Orchards programme, underway.

Coming Soon

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