Apple Niche

Weekly Times Now:

… Thanks to what Brian describes as “pig-headedness”, they got to work rebuilding straight away and are now profitable again. They expect to produce 720 tonnes of apples this year, slowly working their back to a pre-fire output of 1000 tonnnes a year.

Shaun and Brian said innovation was at the heart of their success. “It’s no good just following what others around you are doing, you’ve got to get out there and find ways to be innovative,” said Shaun.

They have travelled to Europe, Asia and New Zealand to stay on top of new industry practices, and Brian goes to the US every couple of years.

The Witchells have even adopted a new growing method from their US friends.

They are among the first in Australia to commercially use “two-dimensional” growing, where apples grow flat along wire trestles, similar to grapes.

Shaun said growing their trees flat improved light distribution, and made trimming and harvesting easier.

“The fruit quality is better, more colour and better pressures, productivity is higher, and labour costs are lower per unit of fruit produced,” he said.

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