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Completed project

Maintaining and expanding the technical development of the Australian Pistachio Industry (PS14000)

Key research provider: Pistachio Growers’ Association
Publication date: Tuesday, February 5, 2019

What was it all about?

This project which ran from 2012 to 2016, allowed employment of a Research Field Officer to investigate ways the pistachio industry can increase yields and improve nut quality.

Specifically, research was undertaken to achieve…

  • Improved kernel fill
  • Reduced shell damage to nuts
  • Reduced impact of alternate bearing – the tendency of a tree to produce a greater than average crop one year (on-crop), and a lower than average crop (off-crop) the following year
  • Most Australian orchards reaching the high yields currently obtained by the best orchards 
  • Better than world best practice for yield, quality and profitability for Australian growers.

A large amount of research data was collected by the research team. Some of the specific outcomes relevant to growers are as follows…

  • It was confirmed that alternate bearing of a significant magnitude disrupts marketing and causes large fluctuations in net returns to the grower and processor. Further, the nut quality decreases when the crop load is heavy, so mitigation of alternate bearing would be desirable. 
  • Mechanical pruning was trialled, showing that an even crop boosted yield per hectare every year (on- and off-years).
  • Calcium sprays decreased the incidence of stylar end lesion in off-crop years
  • The ratio of on-crop to off-crop yields was reduced from the current value of 2:1
  • An increase in crop yield of 5 per cent per annum was achieved by optimising nitrogen application rates, improved pruning techniques, and changes in other management techniques, resulting in an economic gain.

Annual production figures over the time of this study were significantly increased.

Related levy funds


Funding statement:
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation

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