Average size for peach and citrus orchard

Asked October 21, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT

I am planning to purchase about 100 acres of farmland in Burleson County.What is the average recommended size for a commercial peach and citrus orchard. Should other fruits such as figs, berries, pecans, pears be also included if land is available? What other use can the acreage be utilized for? The land is mostly flat with some slopes on one side which borders a creek.

Thanks,

MB

Burleson County Texas

3 Responses

This is a complex question that is probably better asked by direct conversation or your participation at some of our educational programs. I would suggest you contact Burleson County AgriLife Extension to get on a contact list for programs they put on, like their new landowner program. There is a fruit tree program in Winedale, Texas, on February 20th, that could be valuable for your goals.

As an overview, let me say that citrus is probably not a good fit for Burleson County as a commercial crop, because of freeze risk. Peaches are well adapted, but understand that they are labor intensive--pruning, thinning, harvesting. They are highly perishable, so do not grow more than you can sell quickly.
A 20 acre peach orchard would entail 2,000 to 2,500 trees producing 100 lbs each or 200,000 pounds of fruit, which must be harvested, packed and marketed. I would not recommend anything larger than that to a non-corporate entity and probably less than 10 acres would be advisable to beginners.
Diversifying with other crops can be good for certain business models, but each crop that you add complicates overall care and maintenance.
For more information refer to our small acreage crop briefs at:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/smallacreage/crops-guides/fruits-nuts/


Many Thanks.The plan is to start with 10 acres in the first year. The trees will fruit in the 3rd year. More acres may be added in the 2nd or 3rd year if the orchard and marketing plan is on track. as for citrus,I believe grape fruit may be OK? Is this a fair assesment?Also I have checked the Hardy Satsuma and it says that it will survive cold upto 15-20F. any info on this?

I will indeed met the county agent in Caldwell, but for a cow-calf operation.Will check again on the fruit side,


MB

Satsumas are indeed more cold hardy than many types of citrus. They survive in the College Station area only with protective measures---people who have them and are serious about keeping them-cover and use lights and other heating measures. In an orchard, the ability to heat one acre of trees (>100 trees) becomes more complex, expensive and it is not fail-safe. Grapefruit is not cold hardy enough to be a commercial crop in Burleson County.