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UK: Biggest harvest yet for concept Conference Pear orchard

Producing the equivalent of more than 54 tonnes per hectare, the 2013 Conference Pear harvest from the Concept Pear Orchard at East Malling Limited, has also shown a strong variation between the four growing methods for the first time.

In only its fifth leaf and fourth harvest, the demonstration Concept Pear Orchard, which adopts four growing systems, produced a total of 47 tonnes on its one hectare - an increase of 79 per cent on the 2012 harvest.

As a result the harvest at East Malling is more than three times the national Conference Pear production average of only 14 tonnes per hectare, thanks to the growing systems and husbandry adopted, including fertigation and root pruning.

Importantly, the 'v-system', which produced the equivalent of 54.4 tonnes per hectare, a rise of 129 per cent on the 2012 performance, and considerably higher than 38.4 tonnes produced by the 'conventional English' system. The orchard's two other systems, the 'double head' and 'run-through' methods, produced the equivalent of 51.2 tonnes and 46.4 tonnes per hectare respectively.

Graham Caspell, Commercial Farm Manager (pictured second to left)

Graham Caspell, Commercial Farm Manager at the estate at East Malling, said: "The season started poorly, the blossom although strong was late, but we've been very pleasantly surprised by the orchard's results. "Importantly for UK pear growers it clearly shows that one of the four systems used in the orchard, offers a commercial advantage over the others. The results reinforce the already strong case for investing in intensive pear production and adopting these growing techniques."

For further information:
Andrew Metcalf
Tel: +44 01892 513033

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