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  • Almond Board of Australia hires new Experimental Orchard Manager

    Aug 16th, 2017

    The Almond Board of Australia has announced the appointment of Anthony Wachtel as the Farm Manager for the Almond Centre of Excellence experimental orchard in Loxton, SA.Anthony recently joined the ABA and will assume the responsibility of managing the 60 hectare site with the goal of developing it into a world leading almond research facility. An aim of the site is to help enhance current grower orchards to achieve higher yields, improve water and other input efficiencies and consistently produce product of a very high quality. The orchard will also aim to develop new production systems that better suit Australian growing conditions to take yields and ease of management to a new level.

    Anthony has been part of the almond industry in Australia for over 20 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in almonds and agriculture which will be valuable in managing the research trials envisaged for the experimental orchard. The initial trials planned for the orchard, which is an extension of the revitalised Loxton Research Centre include: improving soils to enhance water use efficiency and tree nutrition; new variety evaluation; input optimisation for existing orchards; enhanced pollination; climate change adaptation; and new tree architecture to facilitate shake and catch harvesting. The orchard will also provide a site to trial spray trials, new harvesting equipment and post-harvest handling and storage.

    ABA Chair, Neale Bennett, said that Anthony will play a key role in establishing and developing the experimental orchard and will work closely with researchers to ensure their trials are managed to their requirements which has been challenging in the past when trials are conducted on commercial orchards.He said the almond industry had grown to now being one of Australia’s major horticultural industries and the experimental farm initiative is an important step in ensuring our research program is world class and the results can be viewed by growers to assist in their implementation into industry.

    “This facility, to be managed by the ABA, has been established with the funding support of the South Australian government and will be developed with State and Commonwealth funding facilitated by industry working in partnership with Hort Innovation and research providers.” he said.“The support for the experimental orchard project has been enormous and we are now getting down to planting the orchard and delivering on the vision to improve current practices and develop advanced production systems for the future.”“We are very pleased to have someone of Anthony’s experience, knowledge and skills to guide the experimental orchard's development.” Neale Bennett said.