Manus Boonzaier is growing apples and growing the apple business across the Durham Region, Ontario. The farm manager has seen the Algoma Orchards transform from an average-sized farm into Canada’s largest orchard in eight years.
“We decided to expand our business, and from 2013 we began planting around 100-120 acres (30-40Ha) of new orchard every year. We will be doing the same this year — and the same next year.”
“We now grow around 1400 acres of apples (close to 600Ha). This last season the crews picked just over 50,000 800-pound bins.” (360 kgs full). In Canada, there is no one else this size.”
“For us, expansion has been fairly fast. We are always on the hunt for easier ways to do the job. We are very short on local labour, so wherever we can save on staff hours that’s our key goal, and we are not scared to try anything new.”
This year will be the fourth season that Manus has been running the Stockade ST400 pneumatic stapler tools.
“With all the new trellising going up every season, that is where the stapling tools come in for us. It is not that we are using the power staplers just a little bit. When we use them there are a lot of staples going through.”
“We use a platform to go through the orchard and staple the high wire. The platforms have compressors built into them already. That’s why we originally went for the pneumatic tools because we didn’t need to get anything else. We just plugged them in, and they were a good return on investment. Three years in I haven’t had a single issue with them. Nothing at all. They still work beautifully.”
“Before we got hold of the two ST400 stapler tools, life looked like this. We had two platforms and five guys on each platform. I had ten guys going through the orchard, two guys steering and eight guys just nailing in staples with hammers and loose staples. Today, I have one guy steering and two guys stapling the wires. And the three guys are a lot faster than the ten that I used to have.”
“My guys do 10-20 acres a day. We run two wires on our trellis with a bamboo stake at each tree. That’s about 130-140 posts out per acre and we do two to four staples per post. Most of the wind comes out of the west. So, for the wires on the east side of the post, the ones that need the extra load re-enforcement, we put two staples, and the other side – one.”
“We buy very high-quality posts, and the very nice thing about these Stockade staples is that once you set the stapler tool, we never need to adjust it again during the season and they hold up really well. It is a quick firm shot into the post and they are done. It’s not someone with a hammer making multiple hits and vibrating the post a little bit each time.”
The ST400 pneumatic staplers are really easy to pick up. Let’s put it this way, there is not a lot of training that goes into them. It’s five minutes and away the guy goes. They work really well. It is a robust piece of equipment. I put the guys on it and forget about it.”