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Training systems are key to manage the tree canopy to take advantage of the tree productivity potential. Assessment of yearly cropping, labor requirements, fruit quality, and orchard profitability were studied. The experiment was organized in a randomized complete block design with three replications. Five different training systems on Quince EMC rootstock and ‘Conference’ as the scion cultivar were compared. The results of this study show that the use of preformed highly feathered trees is an improvement for both, early cropping and profitability. Planting cost, trellis, and labor requirements had a large impact on the economic viability of each system. Tatura produced high yields, but the strong initial investment that needs to be done at planting makes this system a risky investment. Axis 2 seems to be the most suitable system for early cropping while maintaining intermediate plantation costs and an appropriate level of production efficiency.
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RESEARCH ARTICLE OPEN ACCESS
Yield and protability of ‘Conference’ pear in ve
training systems in North East of Spain
Jaume Lordan1,2, Simó Alegre1, Ramón Montserrat1 and Luis Asín1
1IRTA Fruitcentre, PCiTAL, Park of Gardeny, Fruitcentre Building, Lleida 25003, Spain.2 Cornell University, NYSAES, Dept. of Horticulture, Geneva,
NY 14456, USA
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research
15 (3), e0904, 9 pages (2017)
eISSN: 2171-9292
https://doi.org/10.5424/sjar/2017153-10705
Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria, O.A, M.P. (INIA)
Abstract
Training systems are key to manage the tree canopy to take advantage of the tree productivity potential. Assessment of yearly
cropping, labor requirements, fruit quality, and orchard protability were studied. The experiment was organized in a randomized
complete block design with three replications. Five different training systems on Quince EMC rootstock and ‘Conference’ as the
scion cultivar were compared. The results of this study show that the use of preformed highly feathered trees is an improvement for
both, early cropping and protability. Planting cost, trellis, and labor requirements had a large impact on the economic viability of
each system. Tatura produced high yields, but the strong initial investment that needs to be done at planting makes this system a risky
investment. Axis 2 seems to be the most suitable system for early cropping while maintaining intermediate plantation costs and an
appropriate level of production efciency.
Additional keywords: axis; crop value; fruit quality; fruit size; planting density; Pyrus communis; Tatura.
Abbreviations used: BYCF (break-even year to cash ow); IRR (internal rate of return); NPV (net present value); THSD (Tukey
honestly signicant difference)
Authors’ contributions: Conception or design: SA, RM and LA. Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data and writing of the
manuscript: JL, SA, LA. Supervision: LA.
Citation: Lordan, J.; Alegre, S.; Montserrat, R.; Asín, L. (2017). Yield and protability of ‘Conference’ pear in ve training systems
in North East of Spain. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, Volume 15, Issue 3, 0904. https://doi.org/10.5424/sjar/2017153-10705
Received: 31 Oct 2016. Accepted: 03 Aug 2017
Copyright © 2017 INIA. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-by)
Spain 3.0 License.
Funding: The authors received no specic funding for this work.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Correspondence should be addressed to Jaume Lordan: jl3325@cornell.edu
Introduction
Low prices for apples over the last years have
increased the plantings of new pear (Pyrus communis
L.) orchards in Europe (Vercammen, 2011b).
Moreover, yield efciency, fruit size and quality
will need to be improved in order to justify those
investments (Webster, 2002). The adoption of high-
density orchards for pear production has resulted in
a signicant improvement in yield and fruit quality.
However, early cropping is often not achieved, and
remains one of the main challenges when planting a
pear orchard (Webster, 2002). A positive correlation
exists among yield, light interception and tree density
(Palmer et al., 1992). While several studies have
reported a positive relationship between tree density
and yield (Vercammen, 1999; Kappel & Brownlee,
2001; Elkins & DeJong, 2002; Sansavini & Musacchi,
2002; Robinson, 2008); Wagenmakers & Tazelaar
(1997) observed an increase about 2.3
t/ha over 8 years
when light interception was increased by 1%. However,
Lakso et al. (1989) and Musacchi et al. (2005) reported
that if orchard efciency is not maintained, an excessive
yield increase can also reduce fruit quality.
Training systems, as a way to manage the
tree canopy, can play a key role in order to take
advantage of the tree productivity potential (Lakso
& Robinson, 1997). Numerous studies on pear
training systems have been carried out around the
world (Deckers, 1992; Sansavini & Musacchi, 1993;
Corelli-Grappadelli, 2000; Wertheim et al., 2001;
Elkins & DeJong, 2002; Musacchi, 2008; Robinson,
2008; Sosna & Czaplicka, 2008; Turner et al., 2008;
Monney & Evéquoz, 2009; Vercammen, 2014;
Heijerman et al., 2015), but research shows that no
system is optimum for all conditions (Barritt, 1987).
Therefore, it is necessary to conduct exhaustive
studies to nd the best training system for each
Jaume Lordan, Simó Alegre, Ramón Montserrat and Luis Asín
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research September 2017 • Volume 15 • Issue 3 • e0904
2
particular situation: cultivar, rootstock, climate, and
economic conditions.
Italy and Spain are the most important pear producing
countries in Europe (Deckers & Schoofs, 2008). While
‘Conference’ is the second most important cultivar
grown in Italy (Deckers & Schoofs, 2008); it is the
most important cultivar grown in Spain (Iglesias &
Casals, 2013), and in Northern Europe, with 80% of the
acreage in Netherlands (Heijerman et al., 2015), and
85% in Belgium (Vercammen, 2014). ‘Conference’ is
a very fertile cultivar that tends to crop on spurs, but
with signicant smaller sizes when crop is bore on old
branches (Sansavini & Musacchi, 1993). Therefore,
training system is key not only to increase yield, but
also to increase protability through bigger fruit
sizes. Regarding that, Sansavini & Musacchi (1993)
recommend that ‘Conference’ must be well pruned
yearly, eliminating one-third of the fruiting spurs and
their branches.
A good tree establishment after planting will help to
achieve precocity (Heijerman et al., 2015). Regarding
that, rootstocks are crucial for tree establishment but
also to make trees more manageable through vigor
control (Sansavini & Musacchi, 2002). Pear orchards
in North America are mostly planted on Pyrus
seedling rootstocks, as Quince (Cydonia oblonga
Mill.) rootstocks routinely suffer from winter damage,
re blight (Erwinia amylovora Burill) infections and
pear decline (Westwood & Lombard, 1983; Lind
et al., 2003; Mitcham & Elkins, 2007; Robinson,
2011). However, clonal pear rootstocks generally
delay cropping with respect to Quince (Sansavini &
Musacchi, 2002). Therefore, while most of the studies
done in North America are done with Pyrus and ‘Old
Home’ × ‘Farmingdale’ (OH×F) rootstocks (Elkins
& DeJong, 2002; Turner et al., 2008; Robinson &
Dominguez, 2015), EM Quince A and C are the most
widely planted pear rootstocks in Europe (Mitcham
& Elkins, 2007). As a result, the better early cropping
of Quince compared to pear clonal rootstocks, plus
the milder winter temperatures in southern Europe
like Italy and Spain compared to North America,
make the use of quince EMC more suitable for such
areas, ensuring optimum yield and fruit quality. This
justies why Quince Adams, MC, and Sydo are the
most used rootstocks for trials in Europe (Deckers,
1992; Sansavini & Musacchi, 2002; Musacchi, 2008;
Vercammen, 2014).
Aim of this study was to evaluate ve training
systems on a Quince EMC rootstock with ‘Conference’
that involved the use of feathered trees and increased
densities, which thereby permitted more intensive
production. Assessment of yearly and early cropping,
labor requirements and fruit quality were studied.
In addition, orchard protability through different
economic factors was also evaluated.
Material and methods
A eld trial was planted at the experimental station
of IRTA (Institute of Research and Technology, Food
and Agriculture) in Mollerussa, Spain (41°36′51.13′′N;
0°52′ 22.75′′E) in 1999. The experiment was organized
in a randomized complete block design with three
replications. Training system was the main plot factor
with each main plot consisting of 2 rows 10 m long.
Five different training systems on Quince EMC
rootstock and ‘Conference’ as the scion cultivar were
compared. Training systems descriptions are given in
Table 1. Foliar GA3 sprays (1.5 g/ha) to promote early
cropping were applied at full bloom during the rst
three years. Trees were drip-irrigated (climate is semi-
arid Mediterranean, with a mean annual rainfall of 350
mm), and received 100 kg N/ha, 40 kg P, and 120 kg
K2O each year.
Axis 1 and 2 were supported by a 4-wire trellis (2.5
m), whereas Tatura systems were supported by 4-wire
trellis (0.5 and 2 m) with 2 wires on each side.
The Axis 1 system was the standard system grown
by the farmers. A non-preformed tree without feathers
(whip) was used in this case (Table 1), heading the
leader at 80 cm right after planting. A strong vertical
shoot arising near the heading cut was tied to the wires
and trained as the leader. The remaining shoots were
selected as scaffold branches and tied to 40° above the
horizontal, encouraging light penetration. Due to the
branching ability of ‘Conference’, most of the branches
were kept uncut during the early years after planting,
to encourage formation of laterals along the axis and
discourage apical dominance.
A preformed tree (two-year-old tree with feathers)
was used for the Axis 2 system (Table 1). Trees
were developed by leaving the leader un-headed at
planting and selecting the more vertical feather as
the leader. Then, similarly to Axis 1, the remaining
feathers were tied to 40° above the horizontal and
kept uncut to encourage the growth of more laterals
along the axis.
Two-year-old preformed trees with 4 or 2 tiers were
used for Tatura 4 and Tatura 2, respectively (Table 1).
Tatura 2 and Tatura 4 systems were developed by tying
at planting each axis (2 or 4) to the wires of the trellis
(as V). These systems were trained to short limbs and
spurs that were periodically renewed.
A 1-year-old preformed tree was used for the Tatura
1 (Table 1). With this system, trees were tied to a tilted
structure to a 15° angle from vertical.
Yield and protability of ‘Conference’ pear in ve training systems
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research September 2017 • Volume 15 • Issue 3 • e0904
3
Overall for the different systems, during the
early years tree training was based on encouraging
development of new branches to quickly ll the space
assigned to the trees. In the rst through the second
year, dormant pruning was minimal for the preformed
trees (Axis 2 and Taturas), promoting and keeping all
the fruiting structures that were developing. Large
diameter limbs (> 3 cm) were removed back to the trunk
with an angled cut to grow replacement limbs. In the
case of Axis 1, the main goal for the rst 3 years was to
establish the central axis structure.
For all the systems, once trees lled the allotted
space, a balance pruning to promote fruiting wood
was developed. Cuts were made on >1-year-old wood,
promoting fruiting spurs. Leaders were cut to a side
shoot when they reached its maximum height of 3.3 m.
Once a branch diameter exceeded 3 cm it was cut back
to its point of origin and renewed. The rest of the cuts
were made to a side branch to keep growth balance and
fruit quality.
Yield, fruit size, fruit quality (esh rmness, soluble
solids, and acidity), and required time to prune (dormant
and summer) and harvest were recorded each year. A ≥50
kg-fruit sample from each elemental plot was collected
for fruit quality, fruit size, and caliper distribution
assessments. The sample was graded for fruit size and
caliper distribution by a weight sizer machine (MAF
RODA Iberica, Alzira, Spain). From this data we
calculated a simulated packout. Firmness was measured
at two opposite sides on the fruit equator using a digital
rmness tester (Penefel; Cti, France). Soluble solid
content (°Brix) and titratable acidity (malic acid g/L)
were determined using the freshly prepared juice of the
whole subsample. Soluble solid content was measured
using a digital temperature compensated refractometer
(model PR-101, Atago Co. Tokyo Japan), and titratable
Table 1. Training systems
System Tree characteristics Spacing (m) Planting density
(tress/ha)
Layout
Axis 1 1-year-old non-preformed tree without feathers
(whip)
3.75 × 1.25 2,133
Axis 2 2-year-old preformed tree with feathers 3.75 × 1.0 2,667
Tatura 4 2-year-old preformed tree with 4 tiers 3.75 × 1.0 2,667
Tatura 2 2-year-old preformed tree with 2 tiers 3.75 × 0.5 5,333
Tatura 1 1-year-old preformed tree with feathers 3.75 × 0.5 5,333
Jaume Lordan, Simó Alegre, Ramón Montserrat and Luis Asín
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research September 2017 • Volume 15 • Issue 3 • e0904
4
acidity (expressed as malic acid) was determined
by titrating 10 mL of juice with 1.0 M NaOH to pH
8.2 (Torres et al., 2017). Crop value and economic
return were calculated using 100% packout (€/ha)
predicted from the average fruit price and the fruit size
distribution recorded during the 10 years of the trial.
Costs included planting (soil preparation, trees, trellis,
fertilization, annual interest of capital, and labor); drip
irrigation and fertigation installation; yield protection
insurance, equipment rentals (mechanized machine for
pruning and harvest, 4 €/h), administration, taxes, and
land lease. Labor cost was categorized for unskilled
(7.5 €/h), and skilled (pruning, 9.5 €/h) tasks. Net
present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR) and
break-even year to cash ow (BYCF) for each system
over 10 years were calculated (Casler et al., 1993).
NPV is the sum of discounted annual cash ows over
10 years using a xed discount rate. The discount rate
is determined by subtracting the rate of ination from
the current interest rate to arrive at a real rate of interest.
IRR is the return on the cash ow stream generated over
a certain number of years (in this case 10) (Casler et
al., 1993; Robinson, 2011). We have used an interest
rate of 5.5%, and a 4.5% rate discount for our basic
comparisons. BYCF is the year when the accumulated
NPV reaches zero, which equals to the year in which
the investment has been recouped with interest. It can
also be considered the year that an orchard can be
removed or replanted in our case. A repeated-measures
MANOVA was used to analyze yield and labor cost
evolution along the seasons. Contrast tests were used to
compare among training systems. Linear mixed models
including training system as xed factor and block as a
random factor were built to separate treatment effects
for the cumulative labor requirements, rmness, soluble
solids, acidity, fruit weight, and caliper distribution at
harvest. A linear mixed model including training system
as xed factor and block and year as random factors
was built to separate treatment effects for the average
efciency rates. With all the models, the Tukey Honestly
Signicant Difference (THSD) post hoc test was used
to compare training systems. Statistical signicance
was set at p 0.05. Data were analyzed using the JMP
statistical software package (vers 11; SAS Inst. Inc.,
Cary, NC, USA).
Results
Training system, time and the interaction of both was
highly signicant regarding yield and labor cost over the
years (Fig. 1). Axis 1 had the lowest yields, followed by
Axis 2 and then the Taturas. No signicant differences
were observed within the three different Tatura systems
and with the Axis 2 (contrast tests, p > 0.05). Axis 1 had
signicantly lower yields than Axis 2 (contrast test, p <
0.028), and the Taturas (contrast tests, p < 0.05).
Labor cost followed a similar pattern as the yield,
with lowest values for Axis 1, followed by Axis 2, and
Tatura 2 as the highest-labor-requirement system (Fig.
1). Signicant differences were observed between Tatu-
ra 1 and Tatura 2 (contrast test, p < 0.0373), whereas no
differences were observed between Tatura 2 and Tatura
4, and Tatura 4 vs Tatura 1 (contrast tests, p > 0.05).
Axis 2 required signicantly less labor cost than the
three different Tatura systems (contrast tests, p < 0.05),
and higher than Axis 1 (contrast test, p < 0.0085).
Along the 10 years, Tatura 2 with over 1,200 h/ha,
was the system that required more dormant pruning,
followed by Tatura 1 and 4, Axis 2, and Axis 1 with
less than 500 h/ha (Fig. 2). Summer pruning was mainly
important on Tatura 2, with about 70 h/ha. Signicantly
higher amount of harvest time was required for the
Tatura compared with the Axis systems.
Efciency rates about 150 kg/h were observed for the
Axis systems, whereas Taturas were signicantly lower
with values about 130 kg/h (Fig. 2).
Axis systems tended to have higher fruit rmness
(0.1 kg) and sugar content than Taturas; however, no
signicant differences among systems were observed
(Table 2). Average rmness was 5.7 kg, 15.4 °Brix, and
1.6 g/L of acidity. No signicant differences among
training systems were observed either for fruit acidity,
fruit size, or caliper distribution. With an overall fruit
size of 190 g, about 70% of the harvest had 65 mm or
more for all the different systems.
Great differences regarding the establishment cost
(total investment at the end of year 1) were observed
among systems (Table 3 and Fig. 3). Tatura 2 with
47,000 €/ha was the most expensive system, followed
by the other two Taturas (4 and 1) (~35,600 €/ha), Axis
2 (19,149 €/ha), and Axis 1 (15,040 €/ha) as the cheapest
option at planting (Table 3 and Fig. 3). Differences
among systems were also observed regarding the yearly
and cumulative cash ow, especially in how negative
the cumulative cash ow curve dipped and became
positive (Fig. 3). Axis 2 had the highest cumulated cash
ow, near to 80,000 €/ha, followed by the Tatura 4 and
2 (~62,000 €/ha), Tatura 1 (53,000 €/ha), and Axis 1
(41,000 €/ha) (Fig. 3). With 5 years, Axis 2 was the
system to reach rst the break-even point, followed by
Tatura 2 and 4 (6 years), and Tatura 1 and Axis 1 (7
years) (Table 3 and Fig. 3).
All of the assessed training systems in this experiment
had a positive IRR and NPV values after 10 years (Table
3 and Fig. 3). With a value near to 30%, Axis 2 had the
highest IRR, doubling the one observed for the Taturas
overall (~15%) (Table 3). The highest NPV (50,437
Yield and protability of ‘Conference’ pear in ve training systems
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research September 2017 • Volume 15 • Issue 3 • e0904
5
€) was also observed for Axis 2. Conversely, Axis 1
showed the second best IRR (18.4%), but the lowest net
present value (24,250 €) (Table 3). Regarding the Tatura
systems, Tatura 4 had the highest IRR (16.7%) and NPV
(35,699 €) values (Table 3). On the other hand, Tatura
2 had higher NPV than Tatura 1 (32,926 € vs 28,930 €),
but for the IRR value the opposite was observed (13.4%
vs 14.4%) (Table 3).
Discussion
Time to reach full crop production is key on the
protability of each training system. Yields at 2
nd
leaf
were very low (1.5 t/ha) on Axis 1, compared to the
other Axis 2 and Tatura systems, with yields about 10
t/ha. Similarly, at 3
rd
and 4
th
leaf, production of Axis
1 was 63% lower than its average production (5
th
to
Figure 1. Evolution of yield (t/ha) and labor cost (h/ha) along years for every training system. Values are the
calculated treatment means for selected years.
Jaume Lordan, Simó Alegre, Ramón Montserrat and Luis Asín
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research September 2017 • Volume 15 • Issue 3 • e0904
6
al. (2015), already reported the importance of using
highly feathered trees and reducing heading cuts in
order to achieve high precocity to increase orchard
protability. However, low yields and delay to reach
full production on Axis 1 was not only observed at
the 2
nd
leaf, but it kept up to the 3
rd
and 4
th
.
Although differences in planting density ranged
from 2,667 trees/ha on Axis 2 and Tatura 4, vs 5,333
trees/ha on Tatura 2-1, no signicant differences
regarding yield over the 10 years were observed
among those systems. Other studies about training
systems with ‘Conference’ have been conducted by
Vercammen (2002, 2005, 2011a, 2014) reporting
the V-system, with 367 t/ha after 10 years, as one
of the most productive. Comparable to the Tatura
2 system that we tested, Musacchi et al. (2005)
observed that a
V-shape with 5,555 trees/ha was the
highest productive system (181 t/ha, over 7 years).
However, it is hard to make comparisons with the
Axis system that we tested. For instance, Musacchi
et al. (2005) used central leader trees but with
different planting densities (Vertical Axis 7,936
trees/ha; Slender Spindle 3,968 trees/ha) and even
with different rootstocks (Spindle bush 1,984 trees/
ha – Sydo). Whereas Vercammen (2014) used a Long
Pruning and Bush Spindle systems (1,714 trees/ha),
and Spindle training (5,625 trees/ha). After 10 years,
the cumulated yield of our Axis 2 system was 385 t/
ha. Similarly, Robinson & Dominguez (2015) tested
a Tall Spindle system with 2,243 trees/ha, reporting
after 11 years, cumulated yields of 299 and 341 t/ha
with ‘Bosc’, and ‘Barlett’ respectively.
With a nice fruit size of 190 g on average, no
signicant differences regarding size and fruit quality
among systems were observed in our experiment. On
the other hand, differences in fruit size among systems
have been observed by other authors. For instance,
larger pears were harvested by Vercammen (2014) on
the V-system; and on the Spindle Bush by Musacchi
et al. (2005). Most likely, fruit size variances can be
10
th
leaf). Among all the systems tested, Axis 1 was
the one with the lowest planting density (2,133 trees/
ha). The positive relationship between tree density
and crop value through the cumulative yield have also
been reported in several studies comparing rootstocks
and training systems for pear (Vercammen, 1999;
Kappel & Brownlee, 2001; Elkins & DeJong, 2002;
Sansavini & Musacchi, 2002; Elkins et al., 2008;
Robinson, 2008, 2011; Robinson & Dominguez,
2015). Non-preformed trees (one-year-old whips)
were used for Axis 1. In addition, tree training for
that system consisted of heading the leader at 80 cm
right after planting, starting the new tree structure the
following year. This management technique is clearly
a delay in regard to two-year-old preformed trees (Axis
2, Tatura 2-4), or even to one-year-old preformed
trees with feathers but without heading the leader
(Tatura 1). Sansavini et al. (2007) and Heijerman et
Figure 2. Cumulative labor requirements for pruning
and harvest (h/ha), and average efciency rate (yield per
working hour, kg/h) for each training system. For every
response variable (labor task and efciency rate), train-
ing systems with the same letter are not signicantly
different according to Tukey’s honestly signicant dif-
ference test at p ≤ 0.05
Table 2. Average fruit quality variables (esh rmness, soluble solids (SS), and acidity), fruit size and
caliper distribution at harvest for each training system. No signicant differences among training systems
were observed at p value ≤ 0.05.
Firmness
(kg)
SS
(°Brix)
Acidity
(g/L)
Fruit size
(g)
Caliper distribution (%)
≥ 60
mm
≥ 65
mm
≥ 70
mm
≥ 75
mm
Axis 1 5.8 15.6 1.7 186.3 93 68 28 9
Axis 2 5.8 15.5 1.6 192.8 93 71 30 11
Tatura 1 5.7 15.4 1.6 183.9 92 65 23 8
Tatura 2 5.7 15.2 1.5 192.2 93 70 30 12
Tatura 4 5.7 15.4 1.6 189.7 93 68 29 11
Yield and protability of ‘Conference’ pear in ve training systems
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research September 2017 • Volume 15 • Issue 3 • e0904
7
explained by the differences in yield depending on
the system (Robinson, 2008). In addition, different
systems can induce a greater intensity of light that
could affect the quality and size of the fruit. Hence,
since light interception is more limiting in Belgium
than in Spain, this may explain why we did not see
differences among systems, while V-systems were
reported to have larger fruits in Belgium (Vercammen,
2014). V-systems are reported to intercept more
light than conic shapes in northern North America
(Robinson & Lakso, 1989; Robinson, 2007).
Reasonably, time devoted to harvest showed a direct
relationship with the production of each system. It is
important to examine to what point one system is more
or less efcient than another, as expressed in terms of
yield harvested per working hour (harvest, dormant and
Table 3. Planting cost, average annual balance (years 6-10), break-even year to cash ow (BYCF), internal rate of
return (IRR), and net present value (NPV) for each system.
Interest rate 5.5% 55-60 60-65 65-70 >70 Fruit caliper (mm)
Discount rate 4.5 % 0.136 0.340 0.476 0.527 Fruit price (€/kg)
Planting cost Annual balance BYCF IRR (%)
NPV
(€/ha) % Average 6-10 (€/ha) % (€) %
Axis 1 -15,040 100 9,052 100 7 18.4 24,250 100
Axis 2 -19,149 127 12,549 139 5 28.9 50,437 208
Tatura 1 -35,694 237 11,933 132 7 14.4 28,930 119
Tatura 2 -47,326 315 14,208 157 6 13.4 32,926 136
Tatura 4 -35,529 236 12,316 136 6 16.7 35,699 147
Figure 3. Effect of training system on yearly (bars) and accumulated (lines) cash ows per unit of land area (€/ha)
over 10 years. Crop value and economic return were calculated using 100% packout (€/ha) predicted from the
average fruit price and the fruit size distribution of the trial. Costs included planting (soil preparation, trees, trellis,
fertilization, annual interest of capital, and labor); drip irrigation and fertigation installation; yield protection
insurance, equipment rentals (mechanized machine for pruning and harvest, 4 €/h), administration, taxes, and land
lease. Labor cost was categorized for unskilled (7.5 €/h), and skilled (pruning, 9.5 €/h) tasks.
Jaume Lordan, Simó Alegre, Ramón Montserrat and Luis Asín
Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research September 2017 • Volume 15 • Issue 3 • e0904
8
summer pruning). Differences among the efciency
rate were observed in our trial. The Axis systems had
an average of 148 kg/h, whereas the Tatura systems
had a lower rate of 130 kg/h. Higher differences were
observed regarding the pruning time required for each
system. Tatura systems required considerably more
hours of pruning, especially Tatura 2, which tripled
the requirements of the Axis 1. In addition, the
open structure of the Axis system facilitates harvest
labor. Similar results were observed by Vercammen
(2005), where after ten years the V-systems were
the most labor intensive compared to Spindle and
Long Pruning systems. Management and training
differences among single-stem systems as the Axis,
and the V-systems (Tatura), were also reported by
Sansavini & Musacchi (2002).
Great differences were observed for planting cost,
which was highly inuenced by the tree type, density
and trellis used for each system. The yearly activity
costs showed that the most expensive systems at
planting required higher annual cost of activity as well,
mainly due to an increased need in the time of harvest,
but also for pruning. If we examine the overall results,
systems based on high planting densities and double
production plan as the Tatura, have been able to achieve
great yields. Nevertheless, its strong cost at planting
hinders a quick investment pay off. That is, even in the
case of great fruit prices, Tatura cannot beat the Axis
2, which had similar yields. As Robinson et al. (2007)
pointed out, the greater the level of initial investment,
the greater the risk in achieving expected prots. Thus,
if two systems produce about the same NPV but one
has much lower investment requirements, it is the
preferred investment. Regarding that, Vercammen
(2005) also suggested that a system that requires high
management and planting cost as the Tatura is only an
option if adequate reserves are available.
From a theoretical point of view, protability of the
Tatura could be improved by reducing the planting
cost and/or increasing the production. In the rst case,
and based on the fact that the tree density should not be
amended, there would only be two ways: (1) simplify
the trellis; (2) reduce the labor cost. The other option
(yield increase) could achieve economic returns
similar to Axis 2, however, it does not seem that this
may be continuously achievable year after year.
The results of this study show that the use of two-year-
old preformed highly feathered trees is an improvement
for both, early cropping and protability. Within
intensive systems, Axis 2 was the most protable.
Planting cost, trellis, and labor requirements had a large
impact on the economic viability of each system. In
addition, the low prices that growers are getting for the
fruit, plus the increase of labor costs, enhance the need
for simple training systems, with low labor input and
highly productive. Tatura systems produced high yields,
but the strong initial investment that needs to be done at
planting makes these systems a risky investment. Axis 2
seems to be the most suitable system for early cropping
while maintaining intermediate plantation costs and an
appropriate level of production efciency.
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... The Goulburn Valley in Victoria is the major pear production region in Australia, producing 85% of the nation's crop of 103,748 t in 2017-18 (ABS, 2019. Pear orchardists in Australia have faced market and production challenges over the last 15 years that caused a decline in production from 147,688 t in 2005 (ABS, 2019). ...
... Reported benefits include: improved fruit quality, controlling vegetative vigor, simplifying pruning and harvest, enabling the use of picking platforms (or robotics), and decreasing the time to full production. Comparisons of training systems and tree densities for pears have been undertaken in South Africa, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Europe, and Brazil, with different rootstocks available in these regions (As ın et al., 2005;du Plooy and van Huyssteen, 2000;Elkins and DeJong, 2002;Kappel and Brownlee, 2001;Lordan et al., 2017;Musacchi, 2011;Musacchi et al., 2005;Palmer, 2002;Pasa et al., 2015;Robinson, 2008;Robinson and Dominguez, 2015;Vercammen, 2011). No such studies have been undertaken in Australia. ...
... In both cases, the maximum cumulative difference was 20 t/ha three (Kappel and Brownlee, 2001) and four (As ın et al., 2005) seasons after planting. Later evaluation showed trees on Tatura trellis cumulatively yielded 40 t/ha more than trees at the same density trained to a vertical axis 10 seasons after planting (Lordan et al., 2017). Notwithstanding the lack of statistically significant main effects of training systems for yield and yield parameters in this study, there was a tendency for lower fruit numbers and higher fruit weights in Open Tatura trellis compared with Vertical and Traditional training systems. ...
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Vegetative growth, orchard productivity, fruit quality and marketable yield were evaluated for rootstock (D6, BP1 and Quince A), tree density (741–4444 trees/ha), and training system (Open Tatura trellis, two-dimensional vertical and three-dimensional traditional) effects on young trees of the blush pear cultivar ‘ANP-0131’. ‘ANP-0131’ is a vigorous scion and vegetative growth, precocity, and yield were influenced by the selected rootstocks. Tree density and training system treatments exerted a substantial effect on canopy radiation interception while increasing tree density improved yield. Increasing tree density from 2222 (high density) to 4444 (ultra-high density) trees/ha did not improve cumulative yield. Crop load affected fruit size, such that “marketable” yield (yield of fruit weighing between 150 and 260 g) was greatest for trees on D6 rootstock and trained to Open Tatura trellis at high and ultra-high densities.
... As demonstrated by numerous studies, dense planting of spindle trees suppresses their vegetative growth and enables high yields, but simultaneously it tends to impair their quality in terms of fruit average weight, size and coloration [Platon 2007, Dorigoni et al. 2011, Robinson and Dominguez 2015, Ozkan et al. 2016, Pereira and Pasa 2016, D'Abrosca et al. 2017, Lordan et al. 2018]. Other authors highlight high costs of wire supports and the necessity of laborious tree pruning and training as major drawbacks of V-shape systems [Gandev and Dzhuvinov 2014, Vercammen 2014, Lordan et al. 2017]. It does not take much time before these investments become amortized, however [Elkins et al. 2008]. ...
... V-shape systems present a good approach for obtaining abundant yields of very good quality fruits in pear and apple orchards [Monney and Evéquoz 1999, Bianco et al. 2007, Kwon et al. 2011, Dadashpour et al. 2012, Vercammen 2014. However, given the high establishment costs of orchards with multiple-leader crowns, planting of two-year-old feathered trees and training them to the traditional spindle shape seems to be a preferable management option [Lordan et al. 2017]. ...
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Choice of orchard system is one of the major factors, on which pear crop size and quality depend. The purpose of this research was to assess the influence of two training systems involving trees trained to different number of leaders on growth, yield, and fruit quality of three pear cultivars. The study was conducted in 2001–2012 near Wrocław (south-western Poland). One-year-old trees of ‘Carola’, ‘Dicolor’ and ‘Erika’ cultivars on the Quince S1 rootstock were planted in the spring 2001 using 3.5 m between rows and a variable in-row spacing: 1.7 m (Drilling form with 3 leaders) and 1.2 m (Güttingen – V system with 1 leader). More vigorous growth was observed from more sparsely planted trees under the Drilling form. The total per-tree yield during 2002–2012 was decreasing as the planting density increased. No differences were observed on yield per hectare between the tested systems. The Drilling trees produced significantly heavier and larger fruit than the trees trained to the V-Güttingen system.
... During the late 1900s 'Conference' pear was already leading the field with 48% of planted area in Europe (Populer, 1980). Nowadays it accounts for 80% of the acreage in the Netherlands (Heijerman et al., 2015), 85% in Belgium (Vercammen, 2014), most important cultivar grown in Spain (Lordan et al., 2017) and the second most important in Italy (Deckers and Schoofs, 2008). ...
... Research on planting and training systems using dwarf and semidwarf rootstocks, especially those from East Malling breeding program, has been conducted around the world (Hampson et al., 2002;Harper et al., 2013;Hassan et al., 2010;Kapel and Quamme, 1992;Kucuker et al., 2015;Ozkan et al., 2016;Platon, 2007;Robinson et al., 1991). Since there are many different factors which affect orchard profitability (Badiu et al., 2015;Bradshaw et al., 2016;Lordan et al., 2017Lordan et al., , 2018bSojkova and Adamickova, 2011;Weber, 2001) it is necessary to conduct exhaustive studies to find the best training system for each particular scenario: cultivar, rootstock, climate and economics. ...
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... Orchard profitability is the main goal when planting a new orchard. However, profitability relies on multiple factors such as cultivar, planting density, training system, rootstock, and fruit quality (Bravin et al., 2009;DeMaree, 1995;DeMarree et al., 2003;Elkins et al., 2008;Goedegebure, 1993;Heijerman et al., 2015;Lordan et al., 2017a;Robinson et al., 2007;Sansavini and Musacchi, 2002;Walsh et al., 2011;White and DeMarree, 1992). How a cultivar adapts to each location will determine how the interaction of the aforementioned factors will succeed in providing a profitable outcome. ...
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Orchard profitability relies on multiple factors such as cultivar, planting density, training system, rootstock, and fruit quality but is also strongly affected by growing climate and soil resources. To evaluate orchard profitability in a northern cold climate, a field trial was planted in Peru, Clinton County, NY, in 2002, with two apple cultivars (Honeycrisp and McIntosh), where we compared the Central Leader (CL) training system on ‘M.M.111’ rootstock; Slender Pyramid (SP) on ‘M.26’ and ‘Geneva ® 30’ (‘G.30’); Vertical Axis (VA) on ‘M.9 (Nic ® 29)’ (‘M.9’), ‘Budagovsky 9’ (‘B.9’), and ‘G.16’; SolAxe (SA) on ‘M.9’, ‘B.9’, and ‘G.16’; and Tall Spindle (TS) on ‘M.9’, ‘B.9’, and ‘G.16’. CL was planted at 539 trees/ha, SP at 1097 trees/ha, VA and SA at 1794 trees/ha, and TS at 3230 trees/ha. The aim of this study was to evaluate the economic profitability of ‘Honeycrisp’ and ‘McIntosh’ at a wide range of planting densities, training systems, and rootstocks for cold areas such as northern New York state. A secondary goal was to assess the effect of various economic factors on the net present value (NPV) of each combination of training system, rootstock, and density. High NPV was achieved with ‘Honeycrisp’ (≈$450,000/ha), whereas NPV was significantly lower with ‘McIntosh’ (≈$80,000/ha). Within ≈5 years, ‘Honeycrisp’ planted in a TS (3230 trees/ha) reached a positive NPV, whereas 9 years were needed when ‘Honeycrisp’ was planted in a CL system at 539 trees/ha. With ‘McIntosh’, break-even year to positive NPV (BYPNPV) was reached at 9 years for TS on ‘M.9’. Most of the other training system and rootstock combinations needed up to 11–13 years to show a positive NPV. The most important variables affecting orchard NPV in our trial were fruit price and yield. The best option for ‘Honeycrisp’ in northern New York State appears to be TS on either ‘B.9’ or ‘M.9’, whereas with ‘McIntosh’, the best option appears to be TS on ‘M.9’.
... Although several studies have reported a positive relationship between yield and planting density (Elkins and Dejong, 2002;Kappel and Brownlee, 2001;Robinson, 2008b;Sansavini and Musacchi, 2002;Vercammen, 1999), it is worth noting that there is a point where increasing planting density can decrease orchard profitability (Lordan et al., 2017a;Robinson, 2008a;Robinson et al., 2007). Dwarfing apple rootstocks, especially 'M.9' and 'M.26', have made possible the transition of entire fruitgrowing sectors to higher tree density and training systems over the last 50 years. ...
Article
Choice of cultivar, training system, planting density, and rootstock affect orchard performance and profitability. To provide guidance to growers in northern cold climates on these choices, a field trial was established in Peru, Clinton County, NY, in 2002, with two apple cultivars (Honeycrisp and McIntosh). From 2002 through 2016, we compared Central Leader on ‘M.M.111’; Slender Pyramid on ‘M.26’ and ‘Geneva® 30’ (‘G.30’); Vertical Axis on ‘M.9 (Nic® 29)’ (‘M.9’), ‘Budagovsky 9’ (‘B.9’), and ‘G.16’; SolAxe on ‘M.9’, ‘B.9’, and ‘G.16’; and Tall Spindle on ‘M.9’, ‘B.9’, and ‘G.16’. Central Leader was planted at 539 trees/ha, Slender Pyramid at 1097 trees/ha, Vertical Axis and SolAxe at 1794 trees/ha, and Tall Spindle at 3230 trees/ha. Cumulative yield was higher with ‘McIntosh’ than with ‘Honeycrisp’. High planting densities (Tall Spindle) gave the highest cumulative yields (593 t·ha–1 on ‘McIntosh’ and 341 t·ha–1 on ‘Honeycrisp’). Tall Spindle (3230 trees/ha) on ‘M.9’ appeared to be the best option for ‘McIntosh’. On the other hand, for a weak-growing cultivar such as ‘Honeycrisp’, Tall Spindle on ‘B.9’ (366 t·ha–1) and Slender Pyramid (1097 trees/ha) on ‘G.30’ (354 t·ha–1) were the two combinations with the highest cumulative yield, largest fruit size (220–235 g), and greatest efficiency index (4.6–3.9 kg·cm–2). © 2018, American Society for Horticultural Science. All rights reserved.
... where n n is the last period with a negative cumulative cash flow, C a is the absolute value of cumulative cash flow at the end of the period n n , and C b is the total cash flow during the period after n n . For the second step, since the planting phase usually represents the main cost item for poliannual crops [44][45][46], these four financial indicators, without considering the public grant for the planting phase according to Measure 121 of the 2007/2013 Sicilian RDP, have been recalculated. In this hypothesized scenario it was possible to compare the different discounted cash flows of each crop and better understand the incidence of EU public grants for the economic sustainability of surveyed crops. ...
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Over the last decades, in many rural areas in Southern Europe, farmers have abandoned agricultural activity, especially on small-sized farms, leading to an exodus from rural areas towards urbanized ones. In this context, in the early 1980s, some Sicilian farmers introduced mango on their small-sized farms, as certain areas of Sicily are well suited to tropical and subtropical crops, but also to meet increasing consumer interest for these fruits, as they are perceived as functional foods. This paper aimed to evaluate the economic sustainability of mango and to determine whether its introduction could be considered as an alternative to traditional crops. In particular, an economic-financial analysis of mango orchards on small-sized Sicilian farms was performed by adopting a discounted cash flow approach. In order to provide as comprehensive information as possible, mango was compared with two traditional crops that have always played an important socio-economic role in Southern Italy: wine grape and orange. Results showed a clear economic convenience for mango orchards, denoting an annual gross margin of 14,617.03 /ha, on average 20 times higher than orange orchards and just less than 40 times higher in respect to vineyards. The higher profitability of mango was also confirmed without considering public grants for the planting phase, and by varying current sales prices and costs. However, it should be considered that the cultivation of mango could represent an opportunity for sustainable development only for certain Sicilian areas, as it is closely related to favorable pedo-climatic conditions.
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Calcium (Ca) sprays and Ca applications to soil throughout the growing season or Ca solution dips at post-harvest are widespread practices to supply Ca and decrease bitter pit in apples. However, published results conflict, and there is no information about the effectiveness of combining all these treatments. In the present study, the following treatments were assessed during four growing seasons: early-season (April) Ca soil applications applied 4 times, mid-season (May) CaCl2 sprays applied 7 or 13 times, late-season (June) CaCl2 sprays applied 7 times, and the combination of late-season sprays and soil applications. In addition, post-harvest dips were evaluated in the latter two growing seasons. Notably high bitter pit incidences were monitored for the first and fourth year of study (>20%), while the second and third year were almost without incidence. Post-harvest dips mitigated bitter pit incidence to a greater extent than pre-harvest treatments, and the sprays mitigated bitter pit to a greater extent than Ca soil applications. The combination of sprays and soil applications did not improve the results relative to Ca sprays alone. No detectable advantage for starting spray programmes earlier than June was observed. Our results showed a trend towards reduced bitter pit with an increasing number of CaCl2 sprays, but this was not clearly an effect of maximizing fruit Ca. Finally, applying 13 CaCl2 sprays in combination with a Ca solution dip at post-harvest appeared to be the most effective practice for minimizing the risk of bitter pit development.
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High density planting in pear is expanding due to the widespread use of quince rootstock able to reduce tree size and induce early bearing. However, high density planting introduces high costs so the break-even point occurs 8 to 10 years after planting. The combination of high-density planting and compact tree architecture is fundamental to achieve success. In 1997, the University of Bologna, started a trial to compare and evaluate production and economic aspects of seven types of pear plantations (involving cultivars, density and training systems). There were three cultivars ('Abbé Fétel', 'Conference' and 'Doyenné du Comice'), two quince rootstocks clones ('MC' and 'Sydo'), and four planting densities [7936 trees/ha (VHDP), 5555 trees/ha (HDP), 3968 trees/ha (MDP) and 1984 trees/ha (LDP)]. The training systems were vertical axis/MC for VHDP, V-shape/MC for MDP and HDP, slender spindle and drapeau/'MC' for MDP, and slender spindle and drapeau/'Sydo' for LDP. The most productive results were obtained with 'Abbé Fetel' with the vertical axis/'MC' (VHDP) and the V-shape at HDP. After seven years the cumulative production was 32 kg/tree and 47 kg/tree, 257 t/ha and 262 t/ha, respectively. With 'Conference' the same 2 training systems performed similarly with a cumulative yield of 179 t/ha and 181 t/ha. In 'Doyenné du Comice' with the vertical axis/'MC' (VHDP), the accumulated yield was 132 t/ha followed by V-shape/MC for MDP with 120 t/ha. It must be stressed that the investments required by VHDP layouts requires high farm-gate prices for equitable returns to growers. This means that, in Italy, if the farm-gate price is lower than 0.45 /kg, the break-even point is at least ten years and enterprise is at risk.
Article
A field trial at Geneva, New York, United States compared four training systems/densities [Central Leader (598 trees/ha), Vertical Axis (1281 trees/ha), Tall Spindle (2243 trees/ha) and Super Spindle (5382 trees/ha)] on 6 rootstocks (seedling, OHF97, OHF87, Pyrodwarf, Pyro2-33 and Quince A) with 3 cultivars ('Bartlett', 'Bosc' and 'Taylor's Gold Comice'). After eight years, tree density had a negative effect on tree size with trees at the highest planting density being only 60% the size of the trees at the lowest planting density. With 'Bartlett', the largest trees were on OHF97 followed by OHF87, Pyro2-33, Pyrodwarf and the smallest trees were on Quince A. With 'Bosc' the largest trees were on OHF87. Trees of 'Taylor's Gold' on OHF97 and on seedling were damaged in the winter of 2004/05 with 37% of the scions killed. None of the other rootstocks were damaged. Tree density had a large positive effect on cumulative yield, while rootstock genotype had a much smaller effect. The high-density Super Spindle system had 5 times the cumulative yield as the low-density central leader system. With 'Bosc' there was little effect of rootstock, but with 'Bartlett', OHF97 and OHF87 had the highest cumulative yield at each density. Quince A had the lowest yield at all densities. Pyrodwarf and Pyro 2-33 had similar intermediate yields at all densities, but Pyrodwarf had numerous root suckers. Yield efficiency was not largely affected by planting density or rootstock genotype although there was a slight negative relationship between planting density and yield efficiency. Fruit size was negatively related to planting density with the Super Spindle system producing significantly smaller fruit size than other systems. Part of the effect was due to greater crop loads on the Super Spindle system. However, when fruit size was adjusted for crop load there was still a negative effect of planting density on fruit size. With 'Bartlett', Quince A produced the largest fruit size, while Pyrodwarf and seedling had significantly smaller size. With 'Bosc' and 'Taylor's Gold' there was no effect of rootstock on fruit size.
Article
A field trial at Geneva, New York State, United States compared four training systems/densities [Central Leader (598 trees/ha), Vertical Axis (1281 trees/ha), Tall Spindle (2243 trees/ha) and Super Spindle (5382 trees/ha)] on 6 rootstocks (seedling, OHF97, OHF87, Pyrodwarf, Pyro 2-33 and Quince A) with 3 varieties (Bartlett, Bosc and Taylor's Gold Comice). After four years, tree density had a significant negative effect on tree size as measured by trunk cross-sectional area for each rootstock with trees at the highest planting density being only 55% the size of the trees at the lowest planting density. With Bartlett, the largest trees were on OHF97 followed by OHF87, Pyro 2-33, Pyrodwarf and the smallest trees were on Quince A. However, with Bosc and Taylor's Gold the largest trees were on OHF87 followed by OHF97, Pyro 2-33 and Pyrodwarf. Trees of Taylor's Gold on OHF97 and on seedling were damaged in the winter of 2004/05 with 37% of the scions killed. The damage was greatest in the central leader system which had the most vigorous trees. None of the other rootstocks were damaged. Tree density had a large positive effect on yield in the third and fourth years with 'Bartlett' on OHF87 or Bosc on Pyrodwarf achieving 60 t/ha in the fourth year. In contrast, the lowest density system (central leader) had only 10% of the yield of the highest density system. There was a significant interaction of rootstock and variety with OHF87 being the best rootstock for 'Bartlett' but Pyrodwarf performing best with Bosc and Taylor's Gold Fruit size was negatively related to planting density with the super spindle system producing significantly smaller fruit size than either the vertical axis or the central leader. Part of the effect was due to greater crop loads on the super spindle system. However, when fruit size was adjusted for crop load there was still a negative effect of planting density on fruit size of 'Bartlett'. With 'Bartlett', Quince A produced the largest fruit size while Pyrodwarf and seedling had significantly smaller size. OHF97, OHF87 and Pyro 2-33 had intermediate fruit size. With Bosc and Taylor's Gold, there was no difference in fruit size between the rootstocks. The greatest yield efficiency with 'Bartlett' was with Quince, OHF87 and Pyro 2-33. OHF97 and Pyrodwarf were intermediate while seedling had the lowest yield efficiency. However with Bosc, Pyrodwarf had the greatest yield efficiency followed by OHF87, and Pyro 2-33, while both OHF97 and seedling had significantly lower yield efficiency.
Article
The main trend in European pear orchard design is to increase planting density. High density plantings (HDP) in pear are expanding due to the widespread use of quince rootstocks to reduce tree size and induce early bearing. However, since HDP entails high investments, the break-even point occurs 5 to 8 years after planting. Planting density in many districts is increasing to achieve high yields, i.e. over 40-50 t/ha. Nevertheless, planting density still ranges from less than 1,000 to 13,000 trees/ha. Increasing pear yields beyond a certain limit can reduce fruit quality if orchard efficiency is not maintained. Research must advance to upgrade tree efficiency via the use of dwarfing or semi-dwarfing quince or pear clonal rootstocks. At the moment the most suitable rootstock for HDP is quince C. The planting density with quince C can range from 4,000 to 13,000 trees/ha but the level of management practices and inputs must be high to avoid a loss of tree efficiency. For densities ranging from 2,000 and 3,000 trees/ha, the main quince stocks are BA29, which is declining in popularity, and the new Sydo which is gaining in popularity. New quince stocks with vigour similar to quince C are the East Mailing selection QR193-16, marketed as MH, and Adams. The most important stocks for LDPs are seedlings. The clonal seedlings from the OH×F series include some especially interesting genotypes like OH×F40 (Farold® 40). Many training systems are suitable to increase planting density, especially the V and vertical axis systems. New ideas regarding tree shape include plants with 2 or 4 axes so as to divide the vigour over more branches. Nurseries can provide pre-formed trees with two axes (Bibaum®) ready to be planted or, alternatively, knip the trees for spindle. In pear a very intensive pruning can enhance fruit set of such cultivars as 'Abbé Fétel', 'Doyenné du Cornice' and 'Passe Crassane'.
Article
We performed an economic analysis of 5 common orchard planting systems (Slender Pyramid/M.26 @ 840 trees/ha, Vertical Axis/M.9 @ 1538 trees/ha, Slender Axis/M.9 @ 2244 trees/ha, Tall Spindle/M.9 @ 3312 trees/ha and Super Spindle @ 5382 trees/ha) using composite yield and labor usage data from several replicated research plots in New York State. Other costs and fruit returns were averages from a group of commercial fruit farms in New York State. Feathered tree price was $5.30, discount rate was 5% and farm gate fruit price was $0.30/kg. The systems varied in costs of establishment from a low of $17,800/ha for the Slender Pyramid system to a high of $49,600 for the Super Spindle system. The differences in establishment costs were largely related to tree density. All of the systems had a positive internal rate of return (IRR) and Net Present Value (NPV) after 20 years. They ranged from a low of 7.5% for the Slender Pyramid system to a high of 11.1% for the Slender Axis system. Profitability as measured by NPV/ha was greatest at the intermediate densities with the optimum density at 2600 trees/ha when NPV was calculated per hectare, but only 2200 trees/ha when NPV was calculated per $10,000 invested. The earliest break-even year for NPV was year 12 for the Slender Axis, year 13 for the Tall Spindle systems, year 14 for the Super Spindle and the Vertical Axis systems and year 17 for the Slender Pyramid system. An estimate of the annual contribution to farm cash flow, in discounted dollars, (annual equivalent cash flow) for each system showed that the number of hectares required to produce a $100,000 annual profit to the business was 222 for the slender pyramid system and 84-117 ha for the other 4 higher density systems. Land cost, tree price and support system cost had a large impact on lifetime profits. Investment risk increased with increased investment costs, making the Super Spindle system riskier from an investment perspective.