Pineapple integrated crop protection program (PI17001)
What was it all about?
From 2018 to 2023, this investment brought information on integrated crop protection to Australian pineapple growers, to help the industry achieve higher yields and produce high-quality fruit with lower production costs and a reduction in the use of pesticides. It also facilitated information exchange with and between growers, pineapple industry advisers, chemical company representatives and the broader supply chain.
Activities included integrated crop protection workshops; updating of the industry’s best practice manual; production of materials including videos and fact sheets; the use of on-farm demonstration sites; and research into pineapple plant nutrition and pest and disease management.
The project also delivered the quarterly industry Pineapple Press e-newsletter, a website and annual industry field days.
As a result of growers participating in project activities, 65 per cent claimed project services and advice had resulted in relative improvements in their fruit quality, and 76 per cent claimed their farm productivity had improved (t/ha). Adoption of sustainable environmental practice changes were also an outcome of the project, with 76 per cent of growers claiming they had made changes that have contributed to making their farm more sustainable in an environmental way, for example sediment traps, reduced nitrogen applications and contour drainage.
The project delivered a range of resources and activities to help the pineapple industry access, understand and implement new technology and best practice information. A total of 137 growers and their staff have attended at least one regional study group which represented 73.5 per cent of all the estimated 65 grower businesses in the industry. Total attendance at the 34 study group meetings was 559 growers and their staff (representing 325 businesses) and 358 non-growers, thus averaging 25 attendees at each event. An average of 88 per cent of evaluated growers intended to make changes to their businesses as a result of participating in project activities.
International and national networks were successfully expanded through multiple guest speakers at regional study group meetings and industry field days, planning for attendance at the ‘World Pineapple Symposium’ in the Dominican Republic and the associated study tour to Costa Rica, facilitation of the New Zealand pineapple study tour, and the industry webinar which hosted Dr Robert Paull from the University of Hawaii.
Outputs and activities of the project included:
- 34 regional study groups (2 of the 36 scheduled were replaced by webinars, as below)
- Two webinars (undertaken to replace study groups during covid lockdowns)
- Minutes for all study groups prepared and available on the Grower website
- 18 issues of the “Pineapple Press” e-newsletter
- 17 demonstration trials conducted
- 13 comprehensive briefs prepared from results of demonstration trials
- 10 factsheets developed and uploaded to the grower website
- Grower website developed and maintained
- Four annual pineapple industry field days
- Three educational videos.
This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Pineapple Fund