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Almond Board of AU appoints new Experimental Orchard Manager

The Almond Board of Australia has announced the appointment of Anthony Wachtel as the Farm Manager for the Almond Centre of Excellence experimental orchard in Loxton, SA.

Anthony recently joined the ABA and will assume the responsibility of managing the 60 hectare site with the goal of developing it into a world leading almond research facility. 

An aim of the site is to help enhance current grower orchards to achieve higher yields, improve water and other input efficiencies and consistently produce product of a very high quality. The orchard will also aim to develop new production systems that better suit Australian growing conditions to take yields and ease of management to a new level.

The initial trials planned for the orchard, which is an extension of the revitalised Loxton Research Centre include: improving soils to enhance water use efficiency and tree nutrition; new variety evaluation; input optimisation for existing orchards; enhanced pollination; climate change adaptation; and new tree architecture to facilitate shake and catch harvesting. The orchard will also provide a site to trial, new harvesting equipment, spray trials and post-harvest handling and storage.

ABA Chair, Neale Bennett, said that Anthony will play a key role in establishing and developing the experimental orchard and will work closely with researchers to ensure their trials are managed to their requirements which have been challenging in the past when trials were conducted on commercial orchards.

He said the almond industry had grown to now being one of Australia’s major horticultural industries and the experimental farm initiative is an important step in ensuring our research program is world class and the results can be viewed by growers to assist in their implementation into industry.

Publication date: 9/4/2017


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