Grower heads abroad to help industry

South Western Times - - News -

BUN­BURY av­o­cado grower Dud­ley Mitchell plans to visit some of the world’s top av­o­cado-grow­ing re­gions to re­search canopy man­age­ment of high-den­sity or­chards.

Mr Mitchell’s com­pany Hor­ti­cul­tural Con­sul­tancy and Man­age­ment Ser­vices man­ages Avonova Farms, a 50ha av­o­cado or­chard at Pem­ber­ton pro­duc­ing 800 tonnes of fruit a year.

Mr Mitchell said he had ear­marked sev­eral av­o­cado or­chards at Chile, North Amer­ica, Is­rael and New Zealand to visit dur­ing his off­sea­son next year.

“My project is about look­ing at the whole ecosys­tem of high-den­sity or­chards in terms of in­fra­struc­ture, new tech­nol­ogy for canopy man­age­ment, plant­ing den­si­ties and man­age­ment meth­ods,” he said.

“Chile is prob­a­bly the world leader in high-den­sity av­o­cado or­chards and I want to see what they are do­ing.”

Mr Mitchell said con­ven­tional av­o­cado-grow­ing meth­ods, in­clud­ing high-den­sity plant­ing, of­ten led to a de­cline in wa­ter and land re­sources.

He said prof­its across the av­o­cado sec­tor had plateaued with high­den­sity plant­ing also cre­at­ing higher pro­duc­tion costs dur­ing the first few years.

“Good land and wa­ter is be­com­ing scarcer to get, and more ex­pen­sive, so we are re­ally try­ing to max­imise pro­duc­tiv­ity from the land we have,” he said.

Pic­ture: Jon Gell­weiler

Bun­bury av­o­cado grower Dud­ley Mitchell plans to visit suc­cess­ful grow­ing re­gions around the world to help pro­duc­tiv­ity closer to home.

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