Managed Walnut Farmlands means just that: professionally managed. Chandler Orchards’ Mendoza-based team of agronomists, agricultural engineers, and experts professionally manage our investors’ orchard acreage, handling all aspects of orchard care and maintenance.
Economies of Scale
Since all our orchard fractions are located within a contiguous 5000 acre farm, centrally managed and cared for by our team, we achieve economies of scale far superior to what any individual investor could hope to achieve if they managed their orchard individually. Our centralized management system allows an investor to buy a plot the size of a small family farm yet at the same time achieve the same cost-per-acre of a large commercial orchard operation.
In fact, once all our acreage has been planted, together our owners will be the largest producer of walnuts in Argentina, accounting for a third of the province of Mendoza’s walnut harvest.
Everything Included, Nothing Left to Chance
All Farm Labor Included:
All Inputs Included:
Management & Compliance Included:
About Our Costs
Factors that influence the costs to maintain the orchard.
A small independent grower with a 40 acre (16 hectares) orchard might spend upwards of $500 per acre with the entire family working dawn-to-dusk to perform all the annual tasks that are required to maintain a walnut orchard.
Over the last decade our monthly cost to operate the orchard has fluctuated in the range of $100 USD per acre ($200 USD per hectare), a savings that is passed on to our owners. We take every measure to run the orchard as efficiently as possible.
We expect that over the long term our cost per acre will fall as we add additional acres to the orchard and achieve larger economies of scale. For example, both a 40 acre and a 5000 acre orchard need a plant pathologist. The 5000 acre orchard will pay more per visit, but it doesn’t pay 125 times more than the 40 acre orchard.
1 Acre (½ Hectare) Plot2019 Projected Annual Expenses
All Farm Labor Included
All Inputs Included
Management & Compliance Included
It is important to note that the monthly expenses depend on three main factors that are outside of our control:
- The labor cost in the local market for both skilled (agricultural engineers, plant pathologists, etc.) and unskilled workers (permanent farm hands and seasonal staff).
- The cost of supplies and inputs we use each year such as diesel fuel, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, Dormex, electricity, etc.
- The international exchange rate between the dollar and the Argentine peso. Since our expenses are paid in pesos, our monthly cost expressed in dollar terms is reduced when the peso weakens and increases when the peso strengthens.
We include all farm labor required to maintain the orchard in optimal growing conditions.
The yearly management fee includes all costs required to carry out the annual harvest. This includes:
- Collecting the walnuts
The harvest is the most active period in the orchard, with additional seasonal workers complementing our permanent staff.
Supplies & Inputs
Walnut trees require 50 inches (1260 mm) of water per year, with most water delivered in the summer months. Since Mendoza’s natural rainfall of 8.6 inches per year (220 mm) cannot satisfy the needs of our orchard, we satisfy our trees’ water needs through a sophisticated drip irrigation system.
Our irrigation system has multiple circuits, but functions as a single integrated system. This allows us to irrigate any section of the orchard from any of our 5 different wells and protects our trees from the effects of a single (or even multiple) pump failures.
We use a modern 2-hose irrigation system which applies water to a larger surface area than a single-hose system. This system better simulates natural rainfall and allows the walnut tree’s extensive root system to absorb water more evenly.
A 2-hose system also means redundancy. Even though the hoses are inspected regularly, should any individual hose suffer a leak, the trees will continue to be irrigated from the second hose.
|Monthly Irrigation Plan|
|August||3.5 in. (90 mm.)|
|Spring||September||4.75 in. (120 mm.)|
|October||4.75 in. (120 mm.)|
|November||7 in. (180 mm.)|
|Summer||December||7 in. (180 mm.)|
|January||7 in. (180 mm.)|
|February||7 in. (180 mm.)|
|Autumn||March||4.75 in. (120 mm.)|
|April||4.75 in. (120 mm.)|
Fertilizers & Micronutrients
Fertilizer is applied to the orchard from October to April. Chandler Orchards fertilizes through fertigation. Water-soluble fertilizer is injected into the irrigation system and delivered to the orchard while irrigating. The principal fertilizers and micronutrients applied:
- Nitrogen (N)
- Phosphorus (P2O5)
- Potassium (K2O)
- Liquid Kelp Concentrate (Kelpak)
- Boron (B)
- Zinc (Zn)
Fertigation has several advantages over traditional surface application of fertilizers:
- Nutrient absorption is increased.
- Precise quantities of fertilizer are used, reducing costs.
- Nutrients are applied at the exact time and rate needed for maximum effect.
- Reduced risk of soil-borne diseases.
While fertigation requires a larger up-front investment in the irrigation system, we believe the benefits fully justify this capital investment. 100% of our orchard’s acreage is connected to our central fertigation system.
Ant Killer & Pesticides
During the critical months of October and November we are especially vigilant about ants and other pests. We apply Clap and Formidor to remove any ant colonies that may have formed in the orchard before they can become a threat.
Fuel & Utilities
Modern agriculture is essentially the transformation of energy into food. An orchard is no exception to that rule. One of the largest expenses in our orchard is energy. We need diesel fuel for our tractors and electricity to power the pumping stations that lift the water from our wells.
Management & Compliance
Supervision and management by professionals. Compliance with all rules & regulations.
Supervision and management includes the salaries of orchard supervisors, agronomists, and other professionals that are responsible for the success of the orchard.
Plant Pathology Controls
Plant pathologists inspect the entire orchard three times annually in November, December, and February. We apply fungicides and pesticides to each tree in the orchard as indicated by the pathologist.
Chandler Orchards handles everything required to move the annual harvest from the orchard to the consumer. The work begins long before the end of the harvest. We have relationships with buyers in Argentina’s domestic market as well as internationally. As our buyers begin to place orders we prepare the walnuts according to each buyer’s need.
When walnuts are to be exported, we obtain and pay for the required phytosanitary certificates according to the destination market, pay the freight, sales tax, value added taxes, and customs duty resulting from the sale of the annual harvest.
We obtain all permits necessary for the herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, growth accelerants, and all other chemicals used in the orchard. We strictly comply with all national and provincial environmental regulations. At Chandler Orchards, environmental responsibility is a core value of our organization.
Provincial Well Permits & Water Rights
Mendoza’s system of aqueducts are what allow a desert province to be one of Argentina’s largest agricultural producers. Mendoza carefully manages water supply to maintain its aquifers in equilibrium. We have already obtained all the necessary permits for our wells and make annual payment for the water rights on behalf of our investors.
Provincial, County, & Municipal Taxes
Included in our annual budget is payment of all provincial, county, and municipal agricultural taxes. The only tax we do not pay on behalf of investors is income tax. Chandler Orchards’ investors can rest easy knowing that all their tax obligations are handled on their behalf.