It is well known that in order for any business to remain successful, change is required. Here at our farm, is no different. We are always modifying our operations in response to technological advances. After all, at the heart of our farm's core value is this belief: If you're not changing, you'll soon be out of business.
Over the summer, we were featured in New Hollands North America, ACRES Magazine. in their Summer 2023 Edition. Apples Go High Tech! Pages 16 and 17!
Embracing Change To Build An Apple Dynasty
Through the years we have strived to lead with practices focusing on environmental stewardship, employee safety, as well as labor and production efficiency. We do this by harnessing the advantages that technology, research and experience offers us.
"Anytime you assume an aggressive attitude about decisions you make for the farm, you have to understand that there will be failures" -Dave
Some examples are planting new test varieties and trying out new planting systems. We loose some, we win some and we move on.
Tight Row Spacing
One of the most observable changes to our orchards over the years is the spacing in our trees between trees in a row and between rows. We have managed 1,500 to 2,000 trees per acre. We also, plant dwarf varieties of trees close together and train them to a post and vertical wire trellis system that runs the length of the row. This produces a "fruiting wall" with 12" to 18" canopy that leads to better fruit quality and size.
Love The Land, Look Out For Your People
We have built unique spray sheds in six locations on our farm. Constructed over a containment pit in case of spills, these sheds provide our spray operators with an organized, well-equipped and safe location to fill up and mix their tanks.
Self-propelled, four-person picking platforms eliminate the safety hazard of ladders and increase picking efficiency. With their scissor-lift design, they're handy for other tasks too, such as pruning, thinning, and stringing wire.
During our harvest season, we add 60 seasonal field workers to the year-round staff. We provide on-farm housing for this crew and utilize our best labor management expertise to train, coach and direct workflow to achieve the highest levels of employee safety and efficiency.
Our farm is in the "people business" as much as we are in the apple business.
"All of workers know us, and we know them" -Dave
Changing To Evolve
With challenges such as severe weather and labor shortages, affecting our crop, we have to find new and updated practices. Examples of this would be, biologicals to address several disease and insect assaults caused by injure to our apple trees. And an H2-A worker program simpler to use.
"When the first mechanical harvester become available, I'm gonna be on top of the signup sheet to buy one!" -Dave
ACRES Article by -Aimee Culbert, New Holland North America