The Productivity, Irrigation, Pests and Soils (PIPS) program coordinates different organisations to undertake orchard research for the apple and pear industry. The first PIPS project ran from 2009 to 2014 with the program being refunded in 2015 as PIPS2.
The tree structure research project seeks to improve orchard productivity and optimise fruit quality by improving crop load management and fruit quality through artificial spur extinction (ASE).
ASE is the regulation of bud number and distribution by selectively thinning spurs at winter pruning and is part of the ongoing drive to develop high density orchard systems. It also evaluates whether subsequent changes in canopy management can contribute to more efficient water use in orchards.
The Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) project aims to complete the field release of the imported parasitoid Mastrus ridens in pome fruit orchards in eastern Australian states and to evaluate the effectiveness of M.ridens as a biocontrol agent against codling moth.
Longer term outcomes resulting from successful completion of the project will be that Australian pome fruit growers will be at the forefront of biological and integrated management of codling moth, leading to more sustainable productivity, economic viability and resilience.
This project will develop a multi-season nitrogen budget underpinned by fertigation research that builds on findings from the previous PIPS1 fertigation project, which investigated the influence of nutrient and water use on apple trees through fertigation to produce consistent, high quality fruit.
The project will also develop a decision support tool that will guide advisor/grower optimisation of irrigation and fertigation application for all major national regions.
Profitable pears: maximising productivity and quality of new pear varieties
Dr Ian Goodwin, DEDJTR, PIPS Project leader for Profitable pears: maximising productivity and quality of new pear varieties
Project leader: Dr Ian Goodwin, DEDJTR
The Australian National Pear Breeding Program has developed two new, unique red-blushed pear varieties with the potential to recapture the fresh pear market. The profitable pears project aims to research and develop orchard management systems to maximise and sustain productivity of high quality red-blushed pears. The project focuses on investigating irrigation techniques, nitrogen use efficiency, root pruning, rootstock performance, planting density and training systems in an experimental orchard at Tatura know as the Pear Field Laboratory.
The Pear Field Laboratory also aims to provide a resource for students, growers and service providers to study and demonstrate management systems and for future R&D on red-blushed pears.
Dr Jens Wünsche, University of Hohenheim, PIPS Project Leader for Physiological, metabolic and molecular basis of biennial bearing in apple.
This project focuses on a major constraint to flowering and production of apple: Biennial bearing, the annual cyclical changes in cropping characterized by “on” and “off” years with “heavy” and “light” fruit loads, respectively. The objectives are to clarify how flowering in apple is inhibited or promoted by changes in gene expression and metabolic signals formed within the plant in response to ontogeny, plant resources, cultural practices and environmental cues.
This is an international project which combines the skills and experiences of researchers in both Australia and Germany to develop new knowledge on key plant processes that regulate flowering in apple.
Dr Kristen Stirling from RMCG is the independent program coordinator for PIPS2.
The PIPS2 coordinator facilitates communication across PIPS2 and the broader apple and pear industry and provides Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting (MER) support. This will ensure the achievements of the Program are captured and encourage continuous improvement in Program delivery.
The PIPS2 coordinators are Dr Anne-Maree Boland and Dr Kristen Stirling from RM Consulting Group (RMCG). For more information contact Anne-Maree or Kristen on 03 9882 2670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PIPS webinars and other resources
The following fact sheets are also available on the TIA website:
PIPS2 is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd using the apple and pear industry levy funds from growers and matching funds from the Australian Government. RM Consulting Group coordinates PIPS2 with the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and the University of Hohenheim, Germany, undertaking the research. APAL provides communications support and industry input.
PIPS2 is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd using the apple and pear industry levy funds from growers and matching funds from the Australian Government. RM Consulting Group coordinates PIPS2 with the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (Vicotria), the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, and the University of Hohenheim, Germany, undertaking the research. APAL provides communications support and industry input.