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The English Apple Man


29th Nov 2019 - It's been a funny old week!

The English Apple Man's thought pattern has been deflected this last 10 days by 'investigative' hospital visits.


This week's Journal will be a bit 'off track'

Having spent an incredibly healthy 77 years (so far) without any serious issues, I now find myself being investigated for 'old man's problems' and I have to say although I find the NHS a fantastic service and my treatment spot on, hospitals are not a place I enjoy frequenting: Of course one quickly realises there are so many people far, far worse off than yourself!


Anyway; apart from a visit to M&S on Monday where I surveyed the apples & pears on display, I have been 'lazy while searching stories from around the globe'




I found this information on Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) site.


APAL is internationally renowned for its commercialisation and management of some of the world's best-known branded fruits and vegetables, including PINK LADY.


The original variety, Cripps Pink, is a natural cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples developed by John Cripps through a West Australian research program in 1973. Over time, as the fruit has developed and new, naturally occurring sports have been discovered, Rosy Glow and Lady in Red have been added to the varieties approved for sale under the Pink Lady® trademark.







The Orchard Business Analysis (OBA) was designed to determine the productivity and economic performance of the Australian pome fruit industry in 2018 and forecast the 2019 result. AgFirst were contracted to collect the physical and financial data from 24 orchard businesses, located throughout Australia including Stanthorpe, Orange, Batlow, Goulburn Valley, Southern Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia with a dataset from 23 businesses.


Summary of findings


The Australian Model Orchard's average gross yield in 2018 was 43.9 t/ha, and the subsequent year of 2019 is forecast to be to 46.5 t/ha.


Fruit quality as measured by Class 1 packout was 68% in 2018 is forecast to be similar at 69% in 2019.


Average yield from 2008 to 2012 was 36 t/ha while the last 4 years (2016-19) average 10 t/ha higher at 46 t/ha.

Packouts have also slowly improved over the 10 years of the Model orchard. Class 1 packout is also trending up, though the 2018 year did not conform to the upwards trend most likely reflecting challenges with weather events for the crop (e.g. major hail event in South Australia).


Average class 1 prices are also increasing (general trend from 2013 - 2018) as is revenue/ha.


In 2018 the model orchard harvested a total of 4,387 bins (1,755 t) over the 40 planted ha. The class 1 recovery averaged 68 per cent, (1,188 t), with the remainder split between Class 2 (13 per cent) and process (19 per cent) production.


In summary, the 2018 growing year yielded less than the previous two, with lower packouts but also stronger prices, that resulted in a revenue per hectare just shy of 2017. 2019 is expected be stronger in yield and price which predicts a very good surplus for the year, comparable to the great result in 2008.


Access to the full report can be found at: APAL under 'Orchard Business Analysis 2019'


The English Apple Man Comments: It is clear yields are well below the levels in New Zealand and Europe and packout inferior too. But prices were recorded as on the rise. Definitely not so in Europe!


Below: a link to a Video where Angus Hogan presents: Precision Automation the new Frontier for Crop Loading


Click on: News & Resources - Videos and Webinars - Precision Automation the new Frontier for Crop Loading APAL Video


In between visiting my hospital for tests, I did pop into M&S and took a look at the Apples & Pears on display.


Loose Gala on offer @ 31p per apple - Cox @ £2.30 x 4 pack - Jazz polybag @ £2 x 6 - Bramley culinary apples on offer @ 64p each - Royal Gala polybag @ £1.50 - 'Perfectly Ripe' British Conference Pears - Individual Conference Pears @ 59p each - Small Gala Apples x 5 apples - Rockit apples x 4 pack @ £2.50.




Returning to the NHS, my experiences confirm the care delivered by the Doctors and Nurses; as brilliant, but while waiting between delivery to CT Scan Unit (3/4 hour after arrival on trolley by Porter) parked in a side area, I wondered how long (not being impatient just wondering why) I had been parked there for my anticipated 2.30pm scan, there was no one I could ask if I had been forgotten. I spoke to a lady at the desk, she said that's not my department, but don't worry they will come to get you from that direction; pointing along the corridor. OK fine.


Well over the next 3/4 hour nobody came for me, many other patients in beds wheeled in and out for X Rays and copious staff walking past with bits of paper in their hand and then walking back again. Each one I looked at 'hopefully' - eventually a lovely nurse wheeled an 'in patient' into my waiting area and cheerfully 'joked' are you waiting for a CT scan? Yes I said! - well I'll jump ahead of you, fine I said, but can you put in a good word for me please!


Five minute later a nurse arrived and said, 'sorry we did not realise you were waiting' the Porter left no notes for you! She wheeled me to the CT scan unit and within 5 minutes I was receiving my scan from 3 delightful nurses.


It occurred to me that however good the NHS staff are; 'and they are' the communication is poor and surely in these times of abundant technology, there must be a simple way patients (many waiting anxiously) could be kept up to date without putting unnecessary strain on the nursing staff.


Observing that NHS staff spent a lot of their time walking from A to B and back with bits of paper in their hands, across the vast empire that is the NHS; 'a huge amount of time and money is spent walking to and fro'


We are so lucky to have this wonderful free health service and it is right that more money should be invested but I fear how ever much is spent, it will never be enough!



That is all for now, more next week


Take care


The English Apple Man