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PIPS 3: Advancing sustainable and technology driven apple orchard production systems

Research & Extension

Hort Innovation has kicked off the third Apple and Pear industry Productivity, Irrigation, Pests and Soils (PIPS3) program. The program covers apple and pear orchards across the country and focuses on new technology and advanced management systems and applying integrated biological management to pests, diseases and soil. The four projects involved have been developed to conduct integrated research activities and provide whole orchard system outputs and outcomes for the apple and pear industry.

AP19003: Advancing sustainable and technology driven apple orchard production systems is being led by Agriculture Victoria’s Research Leader for Crop Physiology, Dr Ian Goodwin. In this video he provides an overview of how the research will be undertaken and the outcome benefits for apple growers and their business sustainability and profitability.

Physiological studies and the development of sensing tools will be undertaken in the Sundial apple orchard at the Tatura SmartFarm and in a commercial orchard of the Goulburn Valley, to:

  • Determine relationships between fruit position and light exposure on colour development, sunburn damage, fruit quality and floral initiation.
  • Observe physiological mechanisms (e.g. chemical signals) to determine the impact of high crop load on floral initiation and differentiation, and fruit size in the subsequent season.
  • Develop a rapid orchard assessment tool, using a ground-based mobile sensing platform equipped with LiDAR and optical cameras (Green Atlas CartographerTM), to determine crop load for optimum fruit size.

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