On 17th July 2014 Thatchers Cider hosted the NACM Orchard open day at one of their orchards in Bleadon, Somerset. Aston Manor Cider sent a small delegation to ensure our presence was noted and to support the NACM event.
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17th July 2014
On 17th July 2014 Thatcher’s Cider hosted the NACM Orchard open day at one of their orchards in Bleadon, Somerset. Aston Manor Cider sent a small delegation to ensure our presence was noted and to support the NACM event.
Some 300+ growers and associated industry people were in attendance.
The 140 acre Shiplate orchard site was purchased by Thatcher’s back in 2009 and a large scale “Hedgerow” orchard was set up to fully evaluate the benefits of tunnel spraying and shake and catch harvesting, this are new concept techniques in the UK and would mean the end of the old systems of mist spraying and harvesting fruit from the orchard floor.
Some 70,000 trees had been planted with the oldest now between 3 and 4 years old.
Hedgerow planting had led to a 5 foot space between each tree and a row width of 18 feet, the trees would reach a maximum height of 9.5 feet (3.5 meters).
The site has several cider apple varieties under cultivation:
The Open day commenced with a brief welcome from Mr John Thatcher and led onto a series of short talks from invited speakers on various topics of interest to commercial Cider fruit growers, these included:
Mr Kevin Workman ( Thatcher’s Agroimist) – Fertilisers, Spray programmes, Soil testing
Mr John Worle (Nurseryman) - Cider fruit tree types
Liz Copas (NACM Cider Fruit Orchard consultant) – Effects of Climate Change
Richard Johnson (Thatcher’s Techinical Team) – What the cider makers want?
Richard Tooby (Orchard machinery supplier) – Sprayers and spray
Iain Gain ( Orcahrd equipment) – Mechnical shaping / harvesting
The event included working demonstrations of tree shaping /harvesting equipment and tunnel spraying equipment. Most of the main suppliers to the industry had trade stands presenting the most current versions of their particular wares.
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