Mango Cultivation

The adoption of intensive mango management systems is likely to be a game-changer for the Pakistan mango industry. Advances have been made already in the appleand pear industry where yields have increased from 10 tons per hectare up to over 100 tonsper hectare. Mangoes, which currently sitting about 10tons per hectare have a great potential to also achieve similar yield increases.

What we’re aiming for is what we call a fruit wall. All the fruit will just be on the outsideof the tree this will make harvesting so much easier for either hand picking or eventuallyas new technologies come along, for vision sensing or even robotic picking. Another advantage of the trellis systems is improved cyclone resilience.

These are pole and wire structures provide quite a bit of strength to the trees and a number of examples in the Wet Tropics havefound that trees growing on trellis systems are much more resilient to high winds andcyclonic winds. In a conventional Australian mango orchard, trees are grown as quite tall trees and have very large canopies.

This is quite inefficient when it comes toutilising light we have a lot of problems controlling the vigour of the trees becausemangoes are a very vigorous tree and our fruit yields are actually quite low compared toother tropical or subtropical fruit varieties. The first trials were established here at Walkamin Research Station about 6 years ago. These trials investigate a range of orchardmanagement systems using either trellised or non-trellised techniques compared withconventional mango growing technologies. The trees will only be maintained to a heightof about 3 meters because of those heights, the rows can be positioned quite closely together.

The canopies are very narrow so it’s achievingmuch better light utilisation per square meter. On a trellis system we’re bending the branchesand that reduces vigor and minimises the amount of vegetative growth and canopy growth sothat conserves resources in which the tree can then put into fruit and so we’re gettingmuch higher yields on these systems and the early indications are up to even five timesyield increases depending what variety we’re growing. If we were to be training the espalier method,we would be bending the two branches on either side – our laterals, to encourage growth alongthis first wire and keeping one apical dominant branch to travel straight up to the next wire. If this was the palmate training system, morelike the palm of your hand we wouldn’t be folding the branches down as harshly justkeeping maybe a 45 degree angle or so and tying these to that bottom branch and againkeeping an apical dominant branch to travel up to the next wire.

Establishing a trellis is quite an upfrontcost as well as quite a bit of extra work so we’ve got these other systems here withoutthe trellis we’ve got a system called a single leader and so when we come to training thesetrees we’re bending the branches down to reduce that vigour and we would tie off at the endof each of these to a point on the ground.

By reducing our vigour again we’re puttingmore energy into flowering and fruiting. We’ve also got some trees growing in a conventionalway as you would now. So these will be just prune in your usualopen vase shape, just planted at a higher density. So a big advantage of high density systemsis where we’ve got limited resources such as land or water where we can’t expand intonew areas we can better utilise the land that we have.

This property, owned by Manbulloo limited,was the first site established as part of the Transforming Mango Futures project. At this site the growers looking at the fourmango intensification techniques, two of those involve trellis systems and two of those involve high-density non-trellised systems. We’re hoping that at this spacing the trees will reach their mature size within about 5 to six years, and already the trees are growing alright .

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