Driving continuous improvement of the Australia apple and pear industry.
PIPS2 addresses key gaps in our understanding of orchard productivity through integrated and efficient R&D. PIPS2 comprises six projects focused on productivity, irrigation, pests and soils. The program, which has been running since 2009, is delivered by a range of organisations across Australia.
This project focuses on a major constraint to flowering and production of apples: Biennial bearing, the annual cyclical changes in cropping characterised 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.
Project leader: Sally Bound, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)
The tree structure project had the aim of improving orchard productivity and optimising fruit quality through improved crop load management and fruit quality. The project investigated the genotypic regulation of fruiting behaviour and compared precision crop load management using artificial spur extinction (ASE) with conventionally managed orchard pruning systems.
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.
Project: ‘Profitable pears: maximising productivity and quality of new pear varieties’
Project leader: Dr Ian Goodwin, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) Victoria
The Australian National Pear Breeding Program has developed several new, unique red-blushed pear cultivars 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 focused on investigating irrigation techniques, nitrogen use efficiency, root pruning, rootstock performance, planting density and training systems through an experimental orchard at Tatura known as the Profitable Pears SmartFarm.
The Profitable Pears SmartFarm also provides a resource for students, growers and service providers to study and demonstrate technologies and management systems and for scientists to continue research and innovation on red-blushed pears.
Project Leader: David Williams, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR), Agriculture Victoria
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 for the industry.
Email David for more information or call him on 03 5833 5222
This project will improve the production of consistent, high quality apples through a better understanding of tree nutrient management. This research will build upon findings from PIPS 1 fertigation research to develop strategic decision support (SINATA) for growers on irrigation and nutrient management in major growing regions. This project has characterised the major soil types used for growing apples across South Eastern Australia to guide irrigation and nutrition schedules.
Learn more about this project:
To find out more on the morphology, hydrology, and chemistry of these soils, and how you can use this information in your orchard, go to http://www.applesoils.com
You can also email Nigel, call him on 03 6226 2174, or read more:
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.