Technology transfer of modern production techniques in the Victorian Goulburn Valley pome fruit industry (AP10019)
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What was it all about?
The Goulburn Valley produced 188,000 tonnes of Australia's pome fruit at an estimated value of 143 million dollars which equated to 23 per cent of national production of pome fruit at the time. 85 per cent of Australia's pear production came from the Goulburn Valley also.
The Goulburn Valley had historically been both a processing (cannery) and fresh fruit production area but a change in supply criteria by the cannery had meant that many fruit growers were facing the decision to increasingly focus on a highly competitive fresh market. In many cases this change required a rethink and restructure of their orchards. Growers needed assistance to make the right choices when replanting to modern planting systems and further subsequent support for seasonal decisions such as pest and disease control, soil and irrigation management, tree training, crop loading and post harvest storage technology.
In recent times technology uptake had been driven by the necessity to manage orchards through drought. Whilst drought had been a stimulus it had also brought inherent limitations of reduced income and a decline in industry investment capital. As the drought eased orchardists were faced with critical investment decisions and technological development needed to be at the forefront of those decisions as the industry moves to a higher competitive environment with the arrival of imported apples.
This technology transfer project managed by Fruit Growers Victoria Limited (FGVL), undertaken between September 2010 and June 2014, was first led by IDO Michael Crisera and was targeting Goulburn Murray pome fruit growers. Half way through the project and following the employment of a second IDO, Virginie Gregoire, the project was extended to the whole of Victorian pome fruit growers.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Fruit Growers Victoria Ltd.
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