During middle summer of 2009, the team folks traveled to the major apple growing regions in Kinnor and Shimla Province in Himachal Pradesh as part of the Rajat Nishant Biotech summer tour. Apple production in Kinnor and Shimla account for about increase of the country production. The trip was organized by Vinod Soni, Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh.
The group from Apple orchard was invited to tour a number of Himachali apple growing regions. Whereas there, we tend to determined the horticultural management practices followed in Himachal, and tried to assess the long run impact of Himachali apple production on the world apple market. Even though we were in able to fully grasp the complexity of Himachali society and apple production, we certainly uncovered many interesting facts about the Himachali apple industry along the way.
We visited the 2 most important apple-growing regions in Himachal, Kinnor and Shimla Province. Shimla Province at north latitude has a temperate continental climate characterised by summers and cold winters. The temperatures are decreases in December and increase in June. Himachali orchards are applying to February month pruning an apple plants. This time is the best for an apple plants growing for more branches. Apple tree 3 and 4 years then gave a fruit. Apples are grown from sea level to 1500 feet above sea level.
India has around Himachal, Jammu Kashmir apple orchard growers in this fields. Some of these growers are organized for research, Demonstration and marketing purposes into village cooperatives such as the villages of Kashmir. Land is owned by the government and leased to the grower with 50-70 year contracts depending on the way the land will be used.
They have experimented with the Malling stocks but reported to us that these rootstocks were not successful under their conditions. As is expected when seedling rootstocks are used, Himachali apple farmers must use extreme measures to keep trees within the 64-100 square feet allotted for each tree. Young trees are managed by limb bending and tying plus pruning. Mature trees are held to their spaces via multiple pruning’s during the growing season, intensive girdling of trunk and limbs, and continued shoot bending using special clips. Orchards in Shimla are kept shorter than those in Kinnor by using more intensive pruning. Growers appeared to be trying to keep tree heights down so that ladders are not needed for pruning, thinning, bagging, picking or for applying Damaging worms medicine over the top of the continuous tree canopy. Consequently, trees in Shimla appeared greener and had a denser canopy. Their orchards suffer from the same maladies common to orchards on seedling rootstocks in the United States – excessive vigor and lack of precocity. These factors contribute to the difficulty their industry will face when changing to new varieties.
We were surprised to see so few Damaging worm in the orchards that we visited. It appears that damaging worm control technology in India is far more advanced than the horticultural technologies being employed by Himachali apple growers.