Kiwifruit production doubles

Suzie Delroy and Jamie Collins.
Camera IconSuzie Delroy and Jamie Collins. Credit: Countryman

Delroy Orchards has been producing WA’s only locally grown kiwifruit amid Pemberton’s karri forest since 1987. This year, production will double on previous years to 4 million pieces as a result of new techniques applied by a new generation of orchardists.

With recent years seeing declining yield and increasing production costs, Delroy Orchards owner, Russell Delroy was looking for an answer to reinvigorate the orchards 10,000 ageing vines. A bold move to hand the responsibility for kiwifruit production to the next generation of orchardists in the family has paid off with yields doubling in 12 months.

Ready for a challenge, Mr Delroy’s 21-year-old daughter, Suzie and her partner, 23-year-old Jamie Collins took over management of the 10ha Delroy kiwifruit planting. Growing up in Pemberton on one of the State’s best family-run apple orchards, Mr Collins was eager to apply new techniques to the management of the kiwifruit production.

Together, Collins and Delroy set about reinvigorating the 28-year-old kiwifruit vines. Undaunted by meticulously pruning 10,000 vines along 25km of trellis, they bravely chopped out much of the old wood during the annual winter pruning, then carefully nurtured the new growth through spring and summer. The result for their effort is a bumper 400-tonne crop.

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A very proud Mr Delroy said “it has been inspiring to see the amazing energy and professional approach this young couple have applied to reinvigorate the old vines. To see declining yield turn around and double in 12 months is full credit to their dedication and willingness to try new management techniques”.

“It is particularly encouraging to see young people taking responsibility within the industry. Vision and commitment to try new things is so important to ensure WA maintains a viable and progressive fruit industry” Mr Delroy said.

Between the rejuvenated vines and mass pollination with 800 bee hives (already in the orchard to pollinate 80,000 avocado trees) there was a monster fruit set of premium-quality fruit.

Delroy Orchards kiwifruit is grown without the use of pesticides. Insects are all kept in check with the use of beneficial bugs. All fruit is hand-picked to ensure maximum quality.

WA kiwifruit, labelled with a red kangaroo sticker is easily identified from imported kiwifruit; It is available in stores from mid April through until the end of July.

Both major supermarket chains , as well as some independent stores have long supported the WA grown product because it is fresh , local and very sweet.

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