Concept Orchards

Reviving the outlook for British pear production

In 2009, East Malling established a 1ha ‘Concept Pear Orchard’ that brought together and compared the latest continental and conventional English growing systems. Recent NIAB EMR science has been added with the introduction of novel Pear Sucker control systems.

Producing the equivalent of more than 54 tonnes per hectare, the 2013 Conference Pear harvest from the Concept Pear Orchard at East Malling Limited, has also shown a strong variation between the four growing methods for the first time.

In only its fifth leaf and fourth harvest, the demonstration Concept Pear Orchard, which adopts four growing systems, produced a total of 47 tonnes on its one hectare – an increase of 79 per cent on the 2012 harvest.

As a result the harvest at East Malling is more than three times the national Conference Pear production average of only 14 tonnes per hectare, thanks to the growing systems and husbandry adopted, including fertigation and root pruning.

The Concept Pear Orchard at East Malling is now proving to be an invaluable showcase site to help inform and train future generations of UK pear growers.

Further Concept Orchards at East Malling are currently being planned and planted.

The Concept Pear Orchard at East Malling was funded by AG Thames, working in collaboration with the East Malling Trust.