I consider the hazelnut industry as a whole to be innovative. At Kirsch Family Farms, what we are doing might not be particularly “innovative” when compared to the neighbor, but it is different than when we first started in the ‘90s.
Our first plantings were all dryland and our newer plantings are all drip line irrigated. We use the drip for water and spoon feeding fertilizer.
Our oldest trees were all planted double density. Today, after experiencing the toil of removing fully grown trees, we plant single density.
We used to keep our orchard floors completely free from grasses. Now to help with erosion, we allow grasses to grow through the winter.
We used to intercrop to try to offset the loss of income off the land during the non-producing years, but we have found that to be too high of risk to our permanent crop.
For sucker control we have invested in technology that senses the tree approaching and sprays only below the tree for suckers; saving time and chemical.
Personally, I have been a bit “innovative” with how I promote our farm. We welcome farm visitors, and I also invite folks to “visit” our farm through my blog, www.nuttygrass.com. Hazelnut posts are often some of my most popular, not only promoting the nut but also how they are grown.