At its most
basic, benchmarking is designed to help us learn from
others. For the walnut industry of New Zealand it enables us to learn
from each other.
By comparing the
wide range of management practices already present
in orchards we will essentially gather results in a very short space of
time, rather than collecting data from an experiment that would take
more than a decade if we started from scratch. To set up such an
experiment would yield results too late to be of use to us now and the
cost would be astronomical. However, with this project, even after a
couple of years we have begun to define best practice for some of the
establishment and management techniques for our trees. This is the
power of benchmarking.
In the simplest
case, benchmarking is used to find best practice models that can be
adopted in a walnut orchard.
Benchmarking project is collecting data from orchards on such
management practices as:
Quality of shelter
It is also
collecting data from orchards of orchard performance, including:
of the benchmarking project to individual growers is that
it is possible to compare the performance of any orchard against the
average, and assess what may be affecting the production of an orchard.
of benchmarking to the industry as a whole is that it will
help us refine what we consider 'best practice' so we can offer better
advice and increase the overall performance of the industry.