Expansion Of Agricultural Production: Great Prospects Opened Up

25 October 1949 The Tumut and Adelong Times

Fruit growing, berry fruit and vegetable growing and canning products.

It can be seen from figures and data published elsewhere in this issue that district development in the past decade has been great, both from, the point of view of institutional expansion and expansion of growing areas within the district. 

Expansion of production has corresponded with expansion of the Batlow Packing House and vice-versa. 

Since 1945 B.P.H. have adopted an expansionist policy along the lines of Gundagai Farm - development of the canning industry, expansion or cool storage space and fruit grading facilities, and m the last year in the signing of the agreement with Birds Eye Foods (Aust.) Pty. Ltd. 

Fruit-growing areas have commenced to develop in the last two years. 

Larger scale vegetable production, which was practically nil until the advent of canning, is now a flourishing concern. 

Growers are becoming more conscious of more scientific and better production methods.

There is now approximately 190 acres of recent contour-planted orchards in the district.

Mr. J. Sedgwick, owner of Ardrossan nurseries and a large orchard at West Batlow, in 1943 saw the need for a more guaranteed supply of well grown nursery trees for the future expansion of the district and established a nursery in that year. 

He is now one of the leading nursery men of the State for the production of pome and stone fruit trees.

An average of 50,000 trees are produced annually for sale in fruit growing areas throughout Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. 

Future Prospects For The District 

It can be seen from the institutional development in the past decade that new and great prospects have been opened up in the Batlow district.

Quick freezing has opened the way for the development of berry fruit production such as strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries, etc., in the cooler higher rain fall areas of Batlow and Tumbarumba, peaches at Adelong and Tumut.

Now that there is a guaranteed market for these commodities their production should expand quickly. Large areas of land suitable for pome fruit production are still untouched in the Batlow area and the gradual development of these areas can be expected to take place in the future.

It is gradually being realised that the Batlow district is probably our best fruit growing area in the State. Stone fruits can be grown to perfection at Adelong and Tumut and grapes of very choice quality are grown at Tumut and Gundagai. Prunes, plums, apricots, etc., exhibited at Tumut Show compare favourably with any other part of the State. 

In the Argalong-Tumorroma area some 15-20 miles from Tumut where the soil types are identical with Batlow there are thousands of acres of country equally suitable for Pome fruits and root crops.

It is in this area that a future road will link up with Canberra bringing Tumut with in a distance of 75 to 90 miles (according to route taken) with the Federal Capital where a great amount of fruit and produce is required.

'Willigobung' Estate.

The acquisition of this property will mean rapid expansion of pome fruit, vegetable and berry fruit areas in the district in the near future. 

'Willigobung' Estate - 10 miles from Tumbarumba between Batlow and Tumbarumba, 43 inches average annual rainfall, between 2,400 and 2,700 feet elevation, comprising 6,000 acres of which approximately 3,000 are suitable for orchard planting.

The general recommendation is that the area be sub-divided into 150 acre orchard properties each of which should include 100 acres of agricultural land of which 60 will be cleared and netted and 20 acres thereof planted with pome fruits. 

20-25 settlers should be established on this estate.

The acquisition of this estate will mean an expansion of approximately 500 acres of pome fruits in the district in the near future besides a big expansion in vegetable and berry production. 

Production Problems, Labour Position.

Probably the most serious problem of production in the area at the present time is the shortage of trained men for both orchards, cannery and packing house.

This difficulty is being overcome with the use of immigration labour. 

Clearing costs and land preparation for orchard planting in the Batlow district has made orchard establishment costs extremely high, but with the advent of modern clearing machinery both time of operation and costs have been consider ably reduced. 

Disease Position.

High rain fall and general climatic conditions are conductive to the spread of black spot, the most serious disease of pome fruits in the Batlow district.

Continued spraying for the control of this disease is the greatest factor tending towards high costs of production, i.e. spraying at three weekly intervals from blossoming to harvesting.

The use of as many labour saving devices as possible with fruit production appears to be the orchardists only means of reducing cost of production with wages and prices at their present levels.

Incidence of hail, frost and cold winds are contributing factors to crop failures in certain seasons. Hail damage is extensive m certain sections of the district in some seasons. 

Experimental Work

The Department of Agricultures (Division of Horticulture) Experimental work in progress at Batlow, includes large scale apple and pear root stock trials embracing approximately 8,940 trees or approximately 100 acres.

Of this are approximately 40 acres are contour planted. These trials involve the testing of all types of apple and pear stock and scion combinations and various clonal root stocks. Apple variety trials are being conducted at Batlow and stone fruit variety trials at Tumut.  

 

In the control of Black Spot this Division is co-operating with the Biological Branch in the carrying out of a large scale trial for the control of this disease. Co-operation with the Entomological Branch in the conducting of trials for the control of Codling Moth is also in progress. 

Other experimental work in the district includes: - Berry fruit cultural trials and the testing of spray programmes for control of pests and diseases. 

Trial of cherry varieties raised by the Department. Trial of apple varieties in determining their resistance to Black Spot. Experimentation with hormone crop thinning sprays.