Panks Bridge farm wins Champion Orchard in the annual Trumpet Cider Orchard Competition
Martin Hewitt of Panks Bridge farm has been awarded the Mansfield Perpetual Challenge Cup in the annual Trumpet Cider Orchard Competition for Class 2 – for Cider Orchards over 10 Years Old. Martin is honoured to win such a prestigious award and feels this is a testament to the quality of his apples.
Panks Bridge Farm currently grows three varieties of apples; Michelin, Dabinett and Katy. Michelin and Dabinett are two well-known cider bittersweet varieties and although Katy is a known desert apple variety, they are all sold under a cider apple contract. Martin’s orchard has 15,085 trees which were planted in seasons 2000 & 2001.
In 1999 the farm moved from dairy farming to apple cultivation. The dairy farming has given rise to good quality fertile soil which has benefitted the apple trees. The soil is both heavy and deep allowing for good moisture levels and strong-rooted trees.
Engage Agro Europe has worked with Martin for 4 seasons. Martin first came to use Engage through his use of the company’s frost protection technology and through confidence in working with Engage’s fruit agronomist Mark Horner, he moved to their total nutrient programme in early 2016.
The programme is based around thorough soil analysis and a recommended early season targeted nutrient applications. Martin, intent on making sure that all the nutrients were right for his apples, followed this with multiple tissues analyses to optimise nutritional levels. While all the growing areas were good and healthy, there were two continual issues which needed addressing. One was low levels of sulphur which all growers in the Herefordshire region suffer from due to cleaner air and the other was to prevent future iron deficiency known to be an issue from previous years of analyses. MAS-Power foliars were used for optimisation and to correct the sulphur deficiency and Bio-Chel Fe was applied to boost iron levels. Martin followed the Engage Agro early season (pre-bud) and mid-season (just after blossom) programmes to the letter and it paid dividends in both quality and saving in foliar applications. Martin also used a late season Engage Agro programme for the ‘Katy’ as the harvest in 2016 was high. Higher yield is known have an inverse effect on the following years production as trees use high levels of nutrient and expel much energy maintaining fruit load through to harvest. Urea and Brix builder was applied to the trees to aid overwintering carbohydrate levels and MAS-Power foliars applied to load nutrients for the year ahead to optimise quality and yield.
Some targeted applications were made with Katy as they are early blossoming apples and Frost Protect has been applied during this period to protect the fruit tree flowers from late spring frosts. Fortify Cu has also been applied to his trees to provide extra protection for apple canker susceptible areas.
In 2017 the foliar programme has again been used however the early season programme worked so well no additional applications were required after tissue analysis in late May.
Engage Agro Europe is delighted at Martin’s achievement and that its crop nutrient programme has helped maximise the growth potential of his apple trees and fruit as well as contributing to good cost management.
For further information:
Engage Agro Europe Ltd
Mark Horner, Commercial Director
Tel: + 44 (0) 7502 300477