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Commercial hazel orchard info
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Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10406

PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 18 6:54 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

What variety do you have Tahir? Do you coppice them every so often, or leave them to grow? If you coppice them, do they make reasonable splitting rods? Sorry so many questions, but we grow hazel for the rods and I don't know too much about them as a nut crop.

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14971
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 18 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

tahir wrote:
we have 226 hazels, the year before last we had s huge crop so thought about selling them, I could get 3.40 p/kg, it takes about 15-20 mins to pick a kilo.

don't do it thinking it'll bring in any income unless you're going to get a crew of eastern Europeans in to pick.


You mean I can’t get one of these?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8QSM2D_KZ0

How much ground do you have your trees on, Tahir? I was thinking (vaguely) of 5-10 acres. You pick by hand, rather than waiting for nuts to fall and raking? (I’d wondered if it was generally too wet here to do that)

I was thinking of a specialist nut variety, not coppice. Nuts are grown differently, with a ‘tree’ shape instead of a coppice stool. I’m aware it will be a long term venture, and I’m definitely planning on controlling squirrels. What I don’t know is what sort of size it would need to be viable, how much time it might take, what sort of market there might be and whether harvesting can be outsourced (as is common for hay or wheat). I’m fairly sure it wouldn’t be viable by hand.

If it turns out you need 200 acres and 600k of machinery to even think of making a profit, then it obviously won’t be for us. If you need to harvest in August or Hand pick, it probably won’t be for us. But if you can hire harvest kit in September, and make a small profit selling wholesale from 5-10 acres it might be something that works for us. It needn’t be a living, but it also won’t be a hobby.

I’m just kicking around ideas at the moment, but one has to start somewhere, with something.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44226
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 18 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

wellington womble wrote:
If it turns out you need 200 acres and 600k of machinery to even think of making a profit


Something like that.

I'd say we have around 1.5 acres of hazels, around 20 fruiting cultivars, to pick from the floor you need:

really good pest control
dry weather
really good weed control
really short grass

We have 3 1/2 rows and we prune by tractor mounted hedge trimmer every other year.

Not interested in the timber byproducts so haven't looked at that at all. We have enough prunings out of the orchard to feed BBQ, pizza oven and bonfires

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44226
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 18 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Might be worth talking to this lot:

http://kentishcobnutsassociation.org.uk/

I'm not a commercial grower, these guys will probably be able to inform better

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14971
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 18 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I was clearly having a moment yesterday, I looked at some of them, but assumed it was a Kent based group! I also found a consultant, which is fine as far as it goes, but I’d like some basics first.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10406

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 18 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

A way of making even a relatively small hazel orchard viable might be to have truffle trees. Not sure if the varieties available are suitable for nut production, but truffles are worth a lot more than hazel nuts.

dpack



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 34899
Location: yes
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 18 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

what a good idea, ummmm.

gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 1830
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 18 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

One tree 2 crops? sounds a good idea to me! just need a trained dog for the truffle harvest.

buzzy



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 3469
Location: In a small wood on the edge of the Huntingdonshire Wolds
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 18 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

gregotyn wrote:
One tree 2 crops? sounds a good idea to me! just need a trained dog for the truffle harvest.


Or a pig. According to the internet they don't need training, though do have a tendency to eat the truffles!

Henry

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14971
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 18 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Mistress Rose wrote:
A way of making even a relatively small hazel orchard viable might be to have truffle trees. Not sure if the varieties available are suitable for nut production, but truffles are worth a lot more than hazel nuts.


They’re a different variety, and are pruned differently. I don’t say you wouldn’t get nuts, but not commercially. Also, the harvesting issue remains, and you can’t use automated harvesting, because soil compacting is not optimal for the truffles. All in all, it’s one or the other in any practical sense.

Unless I’m missing something (which is possible, because this is really only a vague idea at the moment) I don’t think there is the infrastructure to support it in this country. There is smaller scale harvest equipment available, but it would need to be imported and I’m anticipating actually selling the things to be a headache, which I really don’t need. These little ventures don’t need to make me a living, but they’re not hobbies either, so while I can be indulgent to some degree, I can’t completely throw money at them.

Bodger



Joined: 23 May 2006
Posts: 13504

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 19 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

So far this winter, I've planted 200 small trees on our property. A good number of these are nut trees that I'm probably too old to see to come to fruition but what the heck ?

I planted 25 Kentish Cobnuts, 25 Walnuts, 25 Sweet Chestnuts and 25 Beech. Yes, I've gone a bit nuts.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10406

PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 19 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

You should see something on the cobnuts; I have seen newly planted hazel produce the odd nut in 2-3 years, but they may take up to 10 to get really established. The others, as you say, may take rather a long time, particularly the walnut.

tahir



Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 44226
Location: Essex
PostPosted: Wed Mar 06, 19 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We had the odd walnut from year 5

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 10406

PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 19 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

That's good Tahir. I must admit that I don't know a lot about them, but thought they took a long time to reach real cropping age. We have one in the wood; I think it was planted as an ash tree, and not really sure even now if it is a walnut. No nuts as far too overshadowed. Was there when we got the wood and someone put it and some other young trees there either as mitigation for felling some very mature oaks or in the mistaken idea that it was good to plant trees in a wood. Most have of course died as overshadowed and planted in all the wrong places.

wellington womble



Joined: 08 Nov 2004
Posts: 14971
Location: East Midlands
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 19 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

This little plot has gone on the back burner for a while. (As usual, I have picked the worst possible time to become less self reliant!)

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