AU avocado grower to visit Chile to research improving high-density growing

Dudley Mitchell, an avocado grower in Bunbury, Australia 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 in Chile, North America, Israel and New Zealand to visit during his off-season 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 high-density 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.

Mr Mitchell’s Nuffield Scholarship journey will kick off in March with a six-week global focus program in Chile with five other Australian Nuffield Scholars. His project is supported by Woolworths.


Publication date: 10/2/2017

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