News & Resources

Stay up-to-date with the latest industry news. Sign-up for alerts, tips and advice, research and industry invitations delivered straight to your inbox – Sign-Up

Winter Future Orchards® Walk – update


Climatic Events – ways to mitigate climate risk

The next round of the Future Orchards® walks in June and July 2019 will focus on mitigation of present and future climate risks. The strategies growers implement are crucial in developing a  resilience, without sacrificing fruit quality and profitability.

Australia is experiencing unprecedented climatic events and growers are experiencing the impacts of the erratic climate conditions. Managing climate risks is one of the most important strategic decisions apple and pear grower can make. The industry is facing heat stress, sunburn, hail damage, flooding, drought, and decreasing levels of winter chill.

The Future Orchards® program continues to deliver a strong and engaging program bringing the latest orchard management techniques to growers in a practical and accessible way. Our speakers will outline how you can prepare yourself using tried practices, research, innovation and technology.

The field session will continue the climate resilience theme but, being winter, will also discuss and demonstrate the latest knowledge regarding the critical winter tasks particularly winter pruning.

Northern Loop

The dates and times currently set for each region are:

Presenters will include AgFirst horticultural consultant Jonathan Brookes and Stephanie Midgley, Associate Professor in Horticultural Science at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

Stephanie Midgley photoStephanie Midgley an independent researcher in sustainable agriculture, food security and climate change. Her current research focus is on quantifying the water use of apple trees and orchards and the water savings that can be achieved with technologies like rootstock choice and shade netting. The research aims to understand how these savings are achieved physiologically, while also optimising fruit production and quality. She has previously conducted research on the effects of climate and crop management on fruit sunburn.

Stephanie’s experience includes several projects across southern Africa, including the development of the Climate Change Response Framework and Implementation Plan for the Agricultural Sector in the Western Cape Province of South Africa (known as the SmartAgri Plan).

Jonathan Brookes Jonathan Brookes has been involved in various roles within the horticultural industry for 20 years and has a strong practical background, with a particular focus on pipfruit.

Jonathan specialises in helping professional growers identify and monitor key performance indicators for the orchard business, and find practical, cost-effective solutions to help lift performance and optimise profitability.


Southern Loop

The dates and times currently set for each region are:

Presenters will include AgFirst horticultural consultants Dean Rainham and Ross Wilson. Ross will be presenting an update from the PIPS (Productivity, Irrigation, Pests and Soils) program.

Dean RainhamDean Rainham has over 20 years’ experience in the agriculture and horticulture agribusiness sectors; fertilizer (13 years) and finance (7 years).

Part of Dean’s role at AgFirst is to also manage Nelson’s AIMS service (Agfirst Irrigation Monitoring Service).

Dean’s ethos is simple, listen intently and act with integrity, to provide quality, practical solutions that progress our customer closer toward their desired goals whilst strengthening their financial position and profitability for the long term.

Ross WilsonRoss Wilson is a founding member of AgFirst in New Zealand and brings over 30 years’ horticulture experience to the business. A grower in his own right, Ross has frontline experience with the issues orchardists face, and offers his grower clients a complete consultancy service.

Grower education is a passion, and Ross is a key driver of APAL’s Future Orchards® program, he regularly leads field days for various projects, ensuring the latest technical advances and good tree management techniques make it to the hands of growers.



Future Orchards® is an APAL project funded by Hort Innovation using the apple and pear levy with matched funds from the Australian Government.


Go Back to Latest News