Apple Orchard Field Day September 18, 2021
Mark your calendars for the upcoming High Density Apple Orchard Field DaySaturday, September 18th from 9am-12pm at South Baldwin Farms in Baldwin City, KS.
The free field day event is the culmination of Extension’s two year grant from KS Dept. of Agriculture to conduct field trials with the Gieringer’s Orchard in Edgerton, KS and neighboring South Baldwin Farms in Baldwin City, KS.
Field day will include a tour of South Baldwin’s 35+ acres of high-density tree fruit/berries and 11,000 sq foot packing facility with walk-and-talk presentations from local growers, specialists from K-State and MU Extension, and orchard consultant Bill Pitts, the longtime nursery manager at Wafler Nursery in New York.
Modern “high-density” apple orchards are defined by trees that are planted within a few feet of each other (2,000-2,700 trees/acre) using dwarfing rootstocks and large trellis supports. These growing systems are increasingly adopted by commercial growers as the number of trees per acre can increase overall production and can be scaled to both small and large operations.
Many Kansas producers looking to add or start specialty crop production are not aware of the potential for high density tree fruit production in our state. There are only a few high density orchards established in the area. While this can be partially attributed to the initial infrastructure cost to establish a high density orchard, that challenge is compounded by the limited regional knowledge and outreach around this promising production system. Due to the lack of information, some producers are deterred from adoption of high density orcharding because they assume it is not adaptable to diverse and small acreage farming operations. However, the high density systems are being implemented successfully at a variety of scales.
Thanks to funding from Kansas Department of Agriculture, the event is free to attend. We will cover topics relevant for both beginning and experienced growers including orchard startup, rootstock and variety selection, protective Drape Netting, insect and disease monitoring, herbicide drift injury, fruit quality tests, and produce safety.