Industry awards recognising the excellence of two of the program’s researchers and a successful mid-term review highlight the return on levy-funded investment contributed to the apple and pear industry by the Productivity, Irrigation, Pest and Soils (PIPS2) research program, writes Independent Program coordinator Dr Kristen Stirling.
Dr Sally Bound and David Williams, two of the researchers within the PIPS2 program, were recipients of the 2018 Awards for Excellence presented at Hort Connections in June in recognition of their outstanding efforts and contribution to the apple and pear industry. The two were selected from a shortlist of high quality and impressive apple and pear industry members.
Sally, who recently completed a project demonstrating how Artificial Spur Extinction (ASE) can be used to manage crop load, received an Excellence Award.
To understand how ASE could be used in your orchard read Sally’s article Make a smart crop load management choice (Australian Fruitgrower, Feb/Mar 2018)
David, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award, is assessing the effectiveness of Mastrus ridens as a biological control agent of codling moth. David has constantly demonstrated excellence in the apple and pear industry and is well known in the research, development and extension space where he has over 40 years’ experience of orchard pest management.
To find out more about Mastrus, and the impact of commonly used pesticides on its survival read David’s article Killer wasps and better pheromones in the latest Australian Fruitgrower – June/July 2018.
An independent mid-term review of the PIPS2 program also showed that the individual research projects were on track to deliver expected research outcomes and were already impacting on industry practices. This was largely due to the researchers adaptively-managing projects, collaborating internationally and communicating research outcomes to industry.
Discussions with industry members during the review showed the importance of the research to industry. One grower, who has been involved in a Tasmanian project investigating the movement and use of nitrogen by apple trees, commented that “this work is hugely relevant for my business. We never had much evidence on peak demand periods and where it goes in the tree. The last research of any quality was done in 1958 in peach trees. Most growers have a reasonable feel for it, but there is also a lot of wastage. There are also growers who don’t put enough on”.
To find out more about the PIPS2 program go to https://apal.org.au/industry-info/pips/ or contact Dr Kristen Stirling, from RMCG, on 0488 908 416.
PIPS2 is a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Apple and Pear Fund. It is funded by Hort Innovation using the apple and pear levy funds and funds from the Australian Government. RMCG 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.