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Italy: How to make a profit with walnuts

Cultivating walnuts at a good profit is possible. What's important is to have a clear idea, make the right agronomic choices and organise the chain. This is what was discussed on 18th September 2017 at Valier (Rovigo), during a technical day promoted by Vivai F.lli Zanzi and Valier itself. Alberto and Daniele Valier and Giovanni Zanzi were the speakers.

Click here for the photos

"Every year, we produce approximately 200 thousand plants of the Chandler, Lara and Tular cultivar. We believe growing walnuts is profitable, but the chain needs to improve and we all need to work together. This is why we will meet up with leading cooperative and producers, we want to promote the idea of a consortium that can deal with the competition from China and the US," explained Giovanni Zanzi.

Watch the video on mechanical shaking 

Approximately 200 people from various areas in central-northern Italy attended. Alberto Valier described the agronomic characteristics of the crop. "We own 40 hectares planted in three stages: 1990, 2006 and 2016. We have thirty years of experience in cultivating walnuts. I recommend leaving 7-8 metres between rows and 4-7 metres between trees. The Lara and Chandler varieties can have up to 300 plants per hectare, while Tulare can have up to 200 trees/ha maximum."

Watch the video on mechanical harvesting

At least 10-15 hectares are needed in order to be competitive. In addition, well-developed and formed trees must be planted. "The maximum care is needed when planting and roots must be placed carefully."

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200 attended the technical day promoted by Vivai F.lli Zanzi and Azienda agricola Valier

Valier recommends irrigating from the first year, preferably with minisprinklers. Drip systems are not suitable for plants that will become 10 metres tall. Weeding on one metre per side can be carried out on rows, while grass can be mowed between rows. Mechanical pruning can be carried out if necessary after training prunings. According to Valier, a walnut grove can last 35 years.

Giovanni Zanzi and Alberto Valier

"We produce 5 tons of product per hectare. Our gross saleable production is €14-15 thousand. Management costs are €4,000, just like for post-harvesting processing. We calculate a profit of approximately €5,000/ha," explained Daniele Valier.

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Lara variety

"Bacteriosis seemed a problem at first, but it can actually be managed with copper salts. Apical necrosis is caused by fungi and is controlled with tebuconazole, just like botryosphaeria. Carpocapsa is a problem, although it often only affects the husk. Monitoring is similar to that for apple trees. Anthracnose can also be a nuisance, and it can be managed with tebuconazole."  

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Sprayer suitable for trees up to 10 metres tall

As regards the organic cultivation of walnuts, Valier said that he doesn't believe "it's profitable, as yields drop by 75%. I'm talking about real organic productions. I witnesses some terrible failures."

Mechanical harvester 

As regards micro-propagation, they don't seem effective as they delay production. What's important for pollination is to check blossoming times compared to the pollinator.

Vivai F.lli Zanzi

Via del Gorgo 137
Loc. Gorgo di Fossanova San Marco
44124 Ferrara
Tel.: +39 (0)532 719072
Email: vivaizanzi@vivaizanzi.it
Web: www.vivaizanzi.it

Az. Agr. Valier
Via Maestri del Lavoro
45100 Rovigo
Tel.: +39 (0)425 474575
Email: info@valier.it
Web: www.valier.it

Publication date: 9/20/2017
Author: Rebecca B Baron
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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