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Ongoing project

Australian apple and pear industry innovation and adoption program (AP15004) and Delivery of apple and pear Future Orchards extension program (AP15005)

Key research provider: APAL and AgFirst

What’s it all about?

These investments are all about Future Orchards!

Beginning in 2016, projects AP15004 and AP15005 deliver the apple and pear Future Orchards program, which is responsible for accelerating and expanding the adoption of innovation and technology in apple and pear businesses, and facilitating industry capacity-building.

Future Orchards is an internationally renowned technology-transfer program. It includes regular orchard field walks, orchard benchmarking, and orchard business analysis to deliver world’s best practice and R&D linkages to apple and pear growers in Australia’s major growing regions.

The program also aims to upskill the workforce, improve grower crop and business risk mitigation strategies, and provide grower services and technical support along the supply chain. It seeks to improve crop protection stewardship and chemical access, provide biosecurity preparedness, improve post-harvest productivity, and nurture technical preparedness for export.

Project AP15005 is specifically responsible for the technical delivery of the Future Orchards program. It covers the Focus Orchards network to demonstrate the adoption of best practice and new technology, Focus Orchard properties, OrchardNet, Orchard Business Analysis reporting and regional trials.

ACT NOW

  • Find details of upcoming Future Orchard walks and Future Orchard masterclasses in industry channels, including online here. For more information, you can contact APAL Technical Manager Angus Crawford on (03) 9329 3511 or at acrawford@apal.org.au. The role of Technical Manager is funded by Hort Innovation using the industry levy and Australian Government contributions.

  • Visit the Future Orchards section of the APAL website at apal.org.au/future-orchards. Future Orchards produces technical articles and recaps of learning from orchard walks which are housed here, as well as updates and other resources. This content is shared through the levy-funded Australian Fruitgrower magazine too.

  • Access the Future Orchards library at apal.org/future-orchards-library to find presentations and notes from past orchard walks, as well as Future Orchard webinars.

  • Access OrchardNet at hortwatch.com/orchardnet - this is an online database allowing live business updates to be shared with managers, consultants, pack houses and exporters. It also tracks history, provides benchmarks and forecast performances, and houses data from Focus Orchards/orchard trials from the program.

  • Orchard Business Analysis is part of the Future Orchards program. It collects physical and financial data from orchards across the country to give a snapshot of the current industry, providing an opportunity to benchmark performance and review industry trends. Information is presented in Australian Fruitgrower, and you can contact Angus Crawford on (03) 9329 3511 or at acrawford@apal.org.au for information on accessing Orchard Business Analysis reports.

  • Look out for Future Orchards Business Development Group Updates, which are circulated in industry channels.

  • Look out for Future Orchard trial updates in industry channels as they become available.

  • The current focus of Future Orchards is quality fruit production. Read more about the theme, and what you can do now to ensure top quality in the 2019 season, with the ‘Fruit quality for 2019 starts now’ article from p22 in the April/May 2018 edition of Australian Fruitgrower.
  • Future Orchard trial updates are ongoing in industry channels, including this update from April 2018.

  • In August, there will be a two-week study tour to see European apple and pear production in Italy, Germany and Poland. Expressions of interest closed during June as part of AP15004, but look for information post-tour to be shared with the wider industry.

Future Orchards information continues to be circulated in industry channels. In the Feb/March 2018 issue of the levy-funded Australian Fruitgrower, Future Orchard articles included using rootstock choice as a powerful productivity tool (based on learnings from the November 2017 Future Orchard walks, with a complementary video here) and harvesting with consumer requirements in mind.

Read this recent Future Orchards article on how to prepare for the 2018 season, with info on thinning, setting crop loads, summer pruning and tree vigour management. Recaps of topics covered in the winter 2017 walks are also available in the August/September issue of Australian Fruitgrower magazine here, while information from the spring 2017 walks, which wrapped in late November and focused on rootstock selection, will appear in a future edition. 

Winter Future Orchard walks were completed throughout June this year, with recaps of the topics covered available in the August/September issue of Australian Fruitgrower magazine

Winter Future Orchard walks have been scheduled throughout June this year, with a focus on ‘future trees’. For more information, contact APAL Technical Manager Angus Crawford on (03) 9329 3511, or 0427 111 852, or at acrawford@apal.org.au.

Southern Loop Orchard Walks

Northern Tasmania – June 19, 2017

Southern Victoria – June 20, 2017

Adelaide Hills, South Australia – June 21, 2017

Manjimup, Western Australia – June 23, 2017

Northern Loop Orchard Walks

Shepparton, Victoria – June 26, 2017

Batlow, New South Wales – June 27, 2017

Bilpin, New South Wales – June 28, 2017

Stanthorpe, Queensland – June 30, 2017

Autumn Future Orchard walks have been scheduled for March this year, and will have a focus on young tree development and integrated pest management. For more information, contact APAL Technical Manager Angus Crawford on (03) 9329 3511, or 0427 111 852, or at acrawford@apal.org.au.

Southern Loop Orchard Walks

Manjimup, Western Australia – March 20, 2017

Adelaide Hills, South Australia – March 22, 2017

Gippsland, Victoria – March 23, 2017

Huonville, Tasmania – March 24, 2017

Northern Loop Orchard Walks

Stanthorpe, Queensland – March 27, 2017

Orange, New South Wales – March 29, 2017

Batlow, New South Wales – March 30, 2017

Shepparton, Victoria – March 31, 2017


Looking back, project activities have included…

  • A range of successful orchard walks, with walks in 2016 achieving the highest rate of attendance ever seen in the Future Orchards program. Visit the Future Orchards library to access presentations and notes from past walks, as well as Future Orchard webinars

  • Masterclasses, including the Future Orchards Pear Masterclass delivered in 2016 – a playlist featuring three videos with presentations from the event are available to watch here

  • OrchardNet training and messaging

  • Focus Orchards/orchard trials

  • Other extension activities, such as the preparation of relevant articles for Australian Fruitgrower.