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Hansen Orchards

Hansen Orchards case study

A case study that shows how innovation can help fruit growers improve their yields.

Hansen Orchards, nestled beneath Tasmania’s Trestle Mountain, has been a family farm for four generations. Today Carl Hansen and his son, Howard, run the operation, which started as an apple orchard but in recent years has diversified into cherries.

“Tasmania has a competitive advantage when it comes to the timing of cherries as we’re set up for the counter season of the northern hemisphere,” says managing director Howard. “Between Tasmania and New Zealand we supply the world with fresh cherries in January and February.”

New markets

The cherries the Hansens produce are sold in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Their apples are less competitive internationally so most are sold in Australia. In search of new local markets, the family released Hansen Cider in 2017. “It’s going pretty well,” Howard says.

The company recently invested in state-of-the-art covering material from Germany to protect its cherries from summer rain. The cover is self-venting, so the crop doesn’t get too hot, and also has a zipper system that connects the orchards and keeps the birds out.  

“Before the zip system you had to put a bird cover over the rain cover, which blocked sunlight and affected yield,” he says.

Increase yields

Hansen Orchards has also invested heavily in to improve labour efficiency and have new, elevated work platforms in the orchards and modern grading equipment in the packing shed.

Now that the cherry crops are well covered, Howard will focus on protecting the apple crop with hail nets to improve quality and increase yields.

“We’ve reduced risk in cherries, so next is the apples,” he says.

Things you should know: This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Agri Insights canvassed 1,405 Australian farmers about their intentions for their farm enterprise over the coming 12 months, as well as the past 12 months. We spoke to a representative sample of rural producers across Australia. Fieldwork was executed by Fairfax Agricultural Research and Marketing using its database of more than 100,000 rural producers, and the research was managed by Kynetec. Calls were conducted in September 2017. Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL and Australian credit licence 234945.