Written by Mike Davenport. Originally published in the HGA newsletter November 2020.
Last season, Mike and Kathy Davenport purchased a John Deere tow-behind lawn sweeper, to conquer the mountain of clippings that spring and autumn grass growth causes. Mike realised that the basic principle lends itself to a wider range of orchard management, particularly pre-harvest preparation and perhaps even harvest itself. Mike has kindly agreed to share his experiences.
Summary of a presentation given by Charles Merfield, Biological Husbandry Unit (BHU), Lincoln University as part of the winter 2019 AGM/field day weekend
Originally published in the HGA newsletter, August 2019
Merf delivered a fascinating presentation on the key aspects of a healthy soil and how common orchard management practices can destroy soil health.
Merf’s key point was that it’s possible to achieve a healthy orchard and clear floor for harvesting while also maintaining biodiversity in the orchard floor, rather than using herbicides that kill soil microorganisms.
You can determine how much moisture your hazelnuts have lost by regularly measuring their weight. You need accurate digital scales. This method won’t tell you the absolute moisture level, just whether they are stabilised.
Weigh the sample when nuts are first harvested. Re-weigh regularly until the weight is the same for 3 measurements.
Dry roast the hazelnuts in the oven at 180’C for 15 minutes or until the flesh of the nuts are lightly golden. Remove the skins by rubbing in a teatowel or between the hands. While still hot, put the nuts into the food processor and finely chop.
Melt the chocolate in a sauce pan and add the hazelnut oil, taking care not to overheat the mixture. Add to the nut mixture and process until smooth.
The warm autumn experienced this year has highlighted the importance of current research into flowering and pollination behaviour of different cultivars at different locations around the country.
In South Canterbury (Geraldine), Lansing was in flower in mid-July but of the others only Butler had any flowers. Merveille, Alex and Whiteheart were shedding pollen from early July at least. By late August, there was still some flower on Butler, Ennis and MT18/114 but Lansing flowering was over. Merveille pollen was finished but Alexandra and Butler were still shedding.
A series of field days were held around Nelson, in conjunction with the 2011 Annual General Meeting on 4 June.
By Jenny Darragh
HGA newsletter – August 2011
As part of the AGM and Field day at Queen’s Birthday Weekend, a damp Saturday morning found about 30 members at Irene & Phil Hickford’s orchard to a warm welcome and morning tea. The Hickfords have around 800 hazelnut trees 4-6 years old. These are mixed varieties of Whiteheart, Tonda Romano, Barcelona, Merveille de Bollwiller. As we admired the immaculate orchard, Phil explained that he keeps the suckers under control weekly with a $99 mini hedge trimmer and this suppressed the growth of the suckers.