Support for

Creating a better future for Australian apple and pear growers,
through industry leadership and commercial advancement.


Optimising Apple Production Systems

The research

This project is aiming to improve the profitability of apple production by:

  • Developing and testing profitable spatial and temporal management strategies that maximise quality for apple consumers, focusing on size, colour and sunburn/hail damage.
  • Investigating profitable crop load management strategies and technologies for apple production within the Australian environment.
  • Investigating orchard renovation and restructuring, and more reliable pruning/thinning strategies for management of crop load to deliver labour efficiencies for growers.
  • Demonstrating the potential of evidenced-based indicators of environmental sustainability and economic benefit, particularly labour use efficiency.

The activities

Experiments and demonstration sites are being conducted in both research and commercial orchards in Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, NSW and South Australia, encompassing:

  • Crop Load Management: pruning, chemical & mechanical thinning strategies with evaluation of return bloom, fruit set, yield, quality and economic benefit.
  • Orchard Renovation: canopy development, crop load, fruit yield/quality and economic and labour benefit of changed genetics and/or growing systems.
  • Climate impacts and biennial bearing: netting colour and time of use treatments to determine the combined effects of different light environments and crop load determinants (bud development, metabolic profile, non-structural carbohydrates) and management strategies on the eco-physiology and productive performance.
  • Use of sensing technologies to map orchard fruit diameter (size), skin colour and effects of netting treatments to inform zonal management and evaluate the associated profitability benefit.


Further information contact details:
Dr Nigel Swarts
Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture-University of Tasmania
[email protected]


Optimising Apple Production Systems (AP22004) resources are also located on the University of Tasmania Website.

  • Project Leader

    Dr Nigel Swarts
  • Email

  • Lead Agency

    Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
  • Project Research Partners

    Agriculture Victoria, Government of Western Australia - Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Lenswood Apples, APAL

PIPS 4 Profit

Research Partners