Do you live in a world where apples grow, but don’t have an apple orchard? Do you want to start a small business in the area you live?
According to fruit growers magazine, The apple industry generates $78.8 billion in annual revenue: its value increased at an average annual rate of +2.1% over the last twelve-year period.
So how do you successfully start an apple orchard to get healthy apples and profits?
Let’s start by finding out why you need an apple orchard.
Why Start an Apple Orchard?
An apple orchard is the intentional planting of apple trees for fruit production. There are many reasons to start an orchard. Here are the main for you to start:
- Profitable – Earn Income
- Supply of fresh apple fruit.
- Reduce heating and cooling costs
- Reduce pollution
- Take up carbon dioxide and produce oxygen
- Provide habitat for wildlife
- Hold water
- Reduce soil erosion.
Steps to Start an Apple Orchard
Here are 5 simple steps to starting your orchard. These steps will ensure that your new orchard is well planned and profitable.
1. Research the Market
The first thing to do is research about growing apples. You will want to look at many things among them:
- Costs of Owning your Orchard: This will help you the size of the orchard you are going to run. This recommended size for a commercial orchard is at least 10 Acres. A 10-acre will allow you to use equipment and implement an ongoing orchard program
- Potential Buyers of your produce: You need to know if people will buy what you grow, how much it will cost to produce and how to market your fruit to potential buyers.
- Location of your orchard: and do some research about the mark
- Get To Know Your Local Apple Growers: Check with local growers and learn about their setup and costs. Attend harvest festivals and talk with as many growers as possible about how they operate their orchards.
- Determine The Best Orchard Type: There are many ways to set up an apple orchard. Some growers plant traditional rows while others plant on hillsides using mounds or contour rows. If your land is sloped, consider planting on contour rows so water will drain away from the trees properly and not collect against the trunk.
2. Plan Your Orchard
Apple orchards are a long-term investment and it is important to plan thoroughly before you begin. You should Create:
- Create a business plan. This is to help map out your goals and determine what sort of return you can expect from your orchard.
- Plan for start-up costs such as establishment cost per acre covering land preparation, planting, and maintaining. Expected establishment cost of $4,000 to 5,000 per acre
- The kind of equipment you’ll need to grow your harvest.
Next, plan the layout of your apple orchard. You want to make sure that you place your trees at a sensible distance apart so that they will grow healthily.
The most important thing to remember when planting an orchard is to plan for the future. Decide where you want to plant your trees and how many. Take into consideration the sunlight and soil that each tree requires, as well as what type of fruit you want to grow.
3. Build Your Orchard
Now that you’ve researched and planned, it’s time to start building. Start by planting some trees. Pick your apple trees and plant them in rows. You can easily find nursery stock for $1-$2 each.
You will want 4 rows of apple trees. After a while, the trees will start growing apples and they will need to be harvested. With proper care, the trees should be ready for picking in 2-3 years when their canopy reaches 8′ (approx).
Making a profit growing apples in can be done only with intense management from:
- Variety selection
- Controlling pests
If you are an apple grower, you must be willing to learn and keep up with current production practices.
4. Protect Your Orchard from Harsh Weather
Growing an orchard takes time, money, and effort. To have a successful orchard you must start to protect yourself from hail and harsh winds. Begin by building a hail protection system in your orchard.
Hail protection netting is a knitted net to protect your apple orchard from hail and violent hailstorms. Besides hails, they
- Protect against insects
- Reduce sudden temperature
- Protect against changes and wind gusts
- Improve the efficiency of water use
- Provide shade protection
Hail netting comes in 4 types namely:
You can spread the cost of netting if the price is too high. Plan on netting tiny percentages of your blocks each year, starting with the most precious. As a result, you will save money on the expense of replanting your apple trees because you will not have to do so as frequently if they are covered by hail netting.
5. Harvest Your Apple Orchard and Market Your Fruit
Harvest the apples when they’re ripe. You can tell this by gently shaking the branch. If the apples are ripe, they will shake loose from the tree with ease. If there is no give, then the fruit is not ready to be picked. The texture of a ripe apple will also feel softer than an unripe apple.
Harvesting apples is done by hand because mechanical means damage the fruit’s skin and leave it bruised. Bruised apples spoil faster and look unappetizing when being sold in stores. However, if you do not have enough time to harvest your crop by hand, you can use a pulley system and bucket or net to catch the fruit as it drops from the tree.
There are lots of ways to start making money with an apple orchard. You can sell your fruit:
- Wholesale to grocery stores, roadside stands, and juice companies.
- Retail at farmers’ markets and farm stands.
- Take advantage of the growing popularity of fruit programs and sell shares in your orchard. Some orchards
- Have pick-your-own opportunities for individuals, families, or groups.
Starting an apple orchard is not necessarily simple and it certainly requires a lot of planning. But as with most things in life, there is a caveat: you need to be willing to work hard and put in the hours to make it successful. You can then capitalize on the growing apple market.
Apples can be taken care of by using high-quality netting. To help you find the ideal netting products for apple orchards, Please contact a trustworthy netting provider for more details and recommendations at email@example.com