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N&A Group -

Australian grower trials new Swing apple

The N&A Group in Australia kicked off their apple season, with their crop of certified organic Royal Gala apples making their way in to the markets and on to retailer shelves. N&A's is also trialling their exclusive SWING™ apple, with trials going ahead this season as volumes grow closer to full commercialisation. "Swing is a really exciting new apple we have in development," says Rob Cathels from N&A.

The Cathels Family have been growing apples on their farm Ardrossan Orchards in Batlow since 1967, achieving full organic-certification for a portion of their Royal Gala blocks 3 years ago. Ian Cathels believes this is their best crop of organic gala yet and owes this to the mostly warm and dry conditions over summer with good rainfall. Currently around 10% of Ardrossan Orchard's apple production is certified organic, with more plantings to come of new varieties that are well-suited to organic production.

"Swing has been received well by all our customers initially during previous trials. It looks great and eats beautifully. We are really getting behind Swing with our first commercial-scale plantings going in the ground this year. Swing apples are picked later in the season, with very robust and hardy genetic qualities that lend themselves ideally to low-input or organic production methods".

Since going through the organic-conversion process, Ian Cathels has applied particular organic production techniques like tree-management, monitoring and nutritional programs to their conventional orchard blocks where possible. His guiding principle is that a healthy tree provides the best crop protection, with the aim to achieve effective pest-control using only organic methods throughout their entire conventional orchard.

The N&A Group are also gearing up to launch the Kanzi® apple season in March, with a crop of around six million kilograms of Class 1 fruit forecast for this season. Another new variety in development by the HBMA consortium is the QTee pear, currently just one season away from a branded launch.

"Eating quality and appearance are really good, especially from young plantings… we have approximately 30,000 trees in the ground now and will be trialling small quantities of unbranded fruit this season" says Rob Cathels.

In February the N&A Group also launched their new website with live feeds from their orchards in Batlow and Barooga.

For more information:
Hannah Cathels
N&A Group
Email: [email protected]

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