OK, I am going to make it easy on myself, here are the "raw" data from the 2013 harvest:
2013 ‘Silken’ Fruiting Wall Apple (FWA) vs. Tall Spindle Apple (TSA)
Converted to FWA in 2011
Yield in 2013
FWA = 3.7 bins X 15 bushel bins = 55 bushels = 2,220 lbs.
TSA= 3.7 bins X 15 bushel bins = 55 bushels = 2,220 lbs.
FWA = 2,220 lbs. divided by 56 trees = 40 lb. per tree
TSA = 2,220 lbs. divided by 44 trees = 51 lb. per tree
FWA spacing should be 3 ft. X 10 ft. = 1,450 trees per acre
TSA spacing should be 3 ft. X 12 ft. = 1,200 trees per acre
FWA = 1,450 trees X 40 lb. per tree = 58,000 lb. per acre = 1,450 bushels per acre
TSA = 1,200 trees X 51 lb. per tree = 61,200 lb. per acre = 1,530 bushels per acre
app. 5% reduction in yield for FWA vs. TSA
Those are the facts. I am still reasonably convinced after three years of working with the FWA that you will typically reduce yield (somewhat) per acre, and fruit will be somewhat smaller. There are mixed opinions amongst the harvest crew which trees were easier to pick? I think the FWA has the potential to put less load on trellis. (More compact trees.) Not necessarily sure who should convert, probably a bigger orchard where labor savings are paramount and somewhat smaller fruit can be marketed. What this study fails to show is what effect on fruit quality and packout, hence maybe profitability? I will leave the big research jobs like that to Cornell, but if it were my orchard, I'd buy a one-pass hedger and wouldn't hesitate to convert most of my orchard to the FWA. JC
|Typical bin of FWA 'Silken'|
|Typical bin of TSA 'Silken'|