5. Intensive Pear Production Project

Australian pear production has declined substantially, driven by the loss in domestic and international markets. The Australian National Pear Breeding Program (ANPBP) based at DPI Tatura has developed unique varieties with the potential to recapture the markets for fresh pears.

This project, managed by DPI Victoria, aims to research and develop orchard management systems to maximise productivity 3 – 4 years after planting and sustain high yields of consistent quality fruit of these new varieties. Most of the research will be undertaken in the "Pear Field Laboratory", a dedicated orchard at DPI Tatura designed to investigate irrigation, root pruning, rootstock performance, training systems and planting density.

The Pear Field Laboratory will have capacity to explore new and innovative management tools (e.g. remote sensing of nutrient and water status through the PIPS Fertigation project), scope to investigate the effects of management systems on pests and disease (e.g. the impact of agronomic practices on production of plant metabolites that influence insect behaviour) and room for expansion into new research areas (e.g. physiological response to elevated temperature and atmospheric CO2 levels).

Specifically this project will focus on investigating:

·         the mechanisms and effects of irrigation system and management on tree growth and precocity;

·         the mechanisms and effects of rootstock, training system and planting density on tree growth, precocity, fruitfulness, yield and fruit quality; and

·         the relationships between fruit bud type and fruit quality, and the principles of artificial bud extinction

For more information please contact Ian Goodwin