Increasing grower awareness of apple thinning technology and systems (AP02005)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
Although crop regulation was an important component of orchard management, few orchardists or agribusiness consultants/extension personnel had an in-depth understanding of the concepts of crop regulation and there was insufficient expert support available throughout Australia on thinning in pome fruits.
This project was aimed at providing opportunities for orchardists and associated industry personnel to gain an understanding of crop regulation, and to be introduced to Australian research and the latest recommendations. It had also provided an avenue for industry to become familiar with the computerised Apple Thinning Program that was developed to assist orchardists reduce the risks associated with chemical thinning.
The methodology for this project encompassed several aspects:
- Establishment of a support network of licensed consultants
- Conduct of workshops for orchardists in all apple growing regions
- Updating of the electronic data delivery.
Workshops conducted in all major apple growing regions were well attended by both orchardists and agribusiness personnel. These interactive workshops gave participants an awareness of the impact of orchard management practices on fruit load and quality, with the message that crop load management should begin in winter with pruning, not after fruit set as had commonly been the case in many regions. The main message carried away from the workshops was that an aggressive approach to thinning could ultimately reduce costs and improve returns.
Industry personnel gained ready access to best practice in crop regulation in the form of a network of accredited consultants who were also licensed to distribute the Apple Thinning Program. This software package contains the latest available information on chemical thinning practices in a user-friendly format. Orchardists could either purchase the software for their own use or access it as a bureau service through the licensed consultants.
This project had resulted in:
- The establishment of a regional support network for orchardists
- The development of a standardised approach in the provision of thinning advice
- Improved access to best practice thinning methods
- Increased national awareness of the Apple Thinning Program
- Increased basic understanding of crop regulation and background knowledge.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of the University of Tasmania and the apple and pear industry.
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