Benchmarking Process

The industry now has a benchmark website to enter and review orchard data.

Download worksheets:

(right click and save to your computer)

Selecting and Measuring Random Sample Trees for Benchmarking

To select random trees:

  • Use a dice to select a row number
  • Use a dice to select a tree number in the row
  • Do not use any tree that is clearly not representative (not thriving or significantly larger)
  • Do not include any tree on the edge of the block, as these may be affected by other influences.
  • Keep a record of the random trees selected so that you can use the same sample each season.

To measure trunk diameter (mid May to mid June:

  • For average trunk diameter select 25 trees by this method, note these trees as your permanent sample trees
  • Diameter is measured at 600 mm above ground level
  • Specialist tape measures can give diameter reading by measuring circumference; otherwise measure circumference in milimeters, multiply by 7 and divide by 22

To measure blight percentage (January):

  • Select 10 random trees as above
  • Stand on north of tree; inspect the five nearest nuts along the bearing line for signs of blight.
  • Any black spots from blight mean that the nut is counted as blighted.
  • Move to east side and repeat, then south, then west – this means you have inspected 20 nuts and have a count of how many of them were blighted.
  • Repeat for all ten trees.
  • Add up the number of blighted nuts out of the 200 inspected, then divide by 2 to find the percentage.

About Graeme N

Graeme is a social complexity researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (a NZ government research organisation). He and his wife also own and operate a walnut orchard near Lincoln in Canterbury, NZ.
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