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Drought and water use efficiency – what can we learn from other crops?

Business Management

APAL is holding the third webinar of it’s well attended free webinar series next week: Managing through drought, following on from the Eco credentials and sustainability and Supercharged air webinars.

With several apple and pear growing regions currently facing limited access water, we take a look at how other horticultural industries have managed these conditions in the past.

To grow fruit with less water requires an understanding of the orchard’s water requirements and the impacts of water stress (click here for Dr Nigel Swarts’ presentation on irrigation management).

Water requirements depend on factors such as tree size and age, variety and canopy structure. Some of these contributing factors can be planned in advance, while others are not so easy to prepare for.

In more severe cases, growers have allocated water to more profitable blocks. Revising irrigation scheduling and practices may also be considered.

For almost 30 years, Mark Skewes, a Research Scientist at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), has been researching water stress monitoring and management in a range of irrigated crops.  Outcomes from his research include the development of a thermal camera and smartphone based system to monitor and measure grapevine water status which can be used to manipulate fruit (grape) quality.

Other research projects have included monitoring and assessing responses in crops including almonds, grapevines and citrus during reduced water allocations during the Millennium Drought. It is this which will be the focus during APAL’s webinar next Tuesday.

APAL’s webinar series is free, but registration is essential. Hort Innovation is a major funding partner of the series.  Click here for more information, or to register.

water webinar

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