Developing a crop forecasting system for the Australian mango industry (MG05004)
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What was it all about?
Mangoes were a highly seasonal fruit with a fluctuating supply from one year to the next. The forecasting system developed as part of this project identified peaks and troughs in supply assisting the mango industry in planning their harvest and marketing programs.
The crop forecasting system was designed by DoR in conjunction with the local NT Mango Industry Association (NTMIA). The system used predictions based on flowering data provided by growers and the application of heat sum calculations to convert this flowering data into a harvest pattern.
The research component of the project, verifying the heat sums (the time taken from flowering to harvest based on temperatures) in different regions, was successfully carried out. The system was trialled for four mango varieties Kensington Pride (KP), Keitt, Calypso and R2E2 at different orchards in different regions. This confirmed that whilst the time until maturity differed between varieties, heat sums were consistent across the region.
As a logistics tool, the crop forecast proved especially useful in the NT. Yearly labour and transport forums allowed the industry to organise their supply of harvest labour and transport. However, the participation of Queensland (QLD) growers did not match that of the NT. This was addressed by extending the life of the project.
Feedback on the project was positive. The participation of growers in the system increased dramatically through the duration of the project. In addition, over 40 publications were produced and distributed to stakeholders during the project. They included the crop forecast, dry matter prediction dates, season overviews, a manual and a CD-based heat sums calculator for individual use.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited)\ with the voluntary financial support of the mango industry.
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