Coping with National Living Wage - Tree Fruit

Coping with National Living Wage - Tree Fruit

The new regulations which have been introduced this month will increase your labour costs and potentially affect your profitability so what are you planning to do about it?


Have you critically evaluated every crop, system and site that you grow and are you concentrating your efforts on those most likely to give both the greatest return and the best margin?  Your staff should be more efficient if you do all that you can to make their work easier so focus on the following:





  • Further labour cost savings can be made by using the AHDB training DVDs ‘Creating champion employees’ and ‘Harvesting quality apples and pears’ the latter being translated into eight additional languages.


  • The die is cast for 2016 but in future seasons, you may need to invest in high yielding varieties with large fruit and good grade-out, along with rootstocks which provide improved benefits to reduce labour costs. To this end, AHDB continues to fund Project TF 224 – East Malling Rootstock Club, which aims to breed new rootstocks (for apple with a vigour between that of M26 and MM 106), which have good anchorage lending precocity and pest and disease resistance. All of these traits will have a beneficial effect on labour and harvesting costs.


  • In addition we have also funded a series of plum and cherry variety trials over the years to identify those which present fruit well to pickers, are quick and easy to pick and have high yields of Class 1 fruit. Most recently in cherry, we have funded Project TF 176 – Cherries and Plums: Evaluation of new and promising scion varieties/selections and in plum, Project TF 170 – To determine performances of six new plum varieties.