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PIPS3 harvest at Rookwood

It’s harvest time, and the PIPS3 team for the project AP19006 – Improved Australian apple and pear orchard soil health and plant nutrition have been busy at Rookwood.

In this video, Dr Sally Bound is harvesting from trees with three treeline treatments: Grass/clover mix, herbicide (organic) and fine compost treatment.

The three treatments also have a variation of treatments applied to adjacent inter-rows: grass/clover mix, flowering meadow mix and native flowering mix.  The team have conducted soil physical, chemical and biological data collection over the growing season, as well as monitoring for beneficial insect and pest incurrences.

They are always monitoring for life in and around the treeline and inter-row cover crop treatments, but these newly harvested apples will also be getting testing in the lab for key fruit quality parameters,  including:

  • Fruit firmness
  • Starch content
  • Blush colour
  • Background colour
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Sugar content

These tests are helping to understand if and how the treeline and inter-row species mixes influence soil biological function and nutrient availability, tree health,  fruit yield and quality, and IPDM benefits.

Stay tuned for more updates from the Rookwood site over the coming weeks!

You can learn more about the project here, and the PIPS3 program here.

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