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Reaping More From Macadamia Nut Farms

By Mia McCall

Though originally found in the Australian sub continents, the macadamia nut has grown to a viable cash crop in many parts of the world. Commercial macadamia nut farms are said to have been initially set up in Hawaii. Australians only began cultivating it commercially in the 1960s, during which time the crop was being spread across North America.

It is worth noting that the performance of these trees will depend on the temperature swings experienced in your orchard. Flowering will only take place if the temperatures dip below 19 degrees centigrade during the hours of darkness. Frosts and below freezing temperatures will certainly kill young trees or cause flower and leaf shedding in an established orchard.

This hardwood tree is hardy enough to outdo competition from many indigenous deciduous tree species. As long as the orchard is endowed with fine textured soil with good drainage, a rooting system sufficient to support the tree in the drought season can be established. Orchards established in direct wind currents should be surrounded with windbreak trees to block destructive windstorms.

It should be noted that the trees can grow up to heights of twenty meters with far reaching branches. For this reason, the planting holes should be designed in a grid pattern across the orchard, with a spacing of between 30 and 50 meters. If you lack the expertise to conduct a thorough soil sampling, you could estimate the drainage rate during rainy seasons by drilling an auger hole to the hardpan layer and pouring in some water to record how long it takes for it to drain away.

Also to be considered is the presence of stones and the topography because of their impact on the harvesting machinery. While initially identifying the orchard site, it may be necessary to consult landscaping experts. A layman may choose a site that has negative impacts on rights of immediate neighbors or is inaccessible by farm machinery.

As much as possible, rows should be restricted to the north south direction to maximize interception of sunlight on both sides of the rows. Also important is the selection of the appropriate plant species to cultivate on your farm. While neighboring farmers may offer valuable advice on this, recall that some individuals could give you unsubstantiated opinions.

Some processors also have restrictions on the varieties of nuts they are willing to process in their factories. Varieties should be blended during planting to encourage cross pollination as it improves kernel quality and the count of nuts. During harvesting, strive to sort out the various nut species to avoid contention with the processors.

Do not rush to plant any imaginable tree as a windbreak for your orchard. A major shortcoming with this practice is creating secondary hosts for pests that frustrate farmer efforts to improve production. In some cases, the yields from macadamia nut farms have declined simply because such trees are competing with the cash crop for the available growth resources. Windbreaks are not absolutely necessary after four years of macadamia growth as the stems have developed hardy tissue and an elaborate root system.

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Friday, September 27, 2013

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