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Published: 28 Feb 2022

Ramandeep Singh Sidhu

Name: Ramandeep Singh Sidhu

Position: PhD Candidate at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)

PhD Title: Influence of Orchard Conditions on Fruit Quality of ‘Envy’ Apple

Supervisors: I am working under the supervision of Dr Sally Bound and Dr Nigel Swarts.

What is your research project about? Little is known regarding the longer-term orchard management implications on the recently released and increasingly popular apple cultivar ‘Envy’. The apple industry has identified that internal flesh browning and fruit-softening during storage are some of the major negative attributes that deteriorate the quality of fresh ‘Envy’ fruit and its long-term storage potential.

Through this project, I am working closely with apple growers in Southern Tasmania to study drivers of fruit quality, explore the incidence of negative fruit quality attributes, and examine pre-harvest factors, orchard management conditions, soil and climatic factors that are likely to be responsible for these disorders.

I started in this project in April 2019 as a Masters by Research student and it was later upgraded to a PhD project in May 2020. The research is funded by the variety-owners and industry partner Montague Pty Ltd. Research is undertaken at five different commercial orchards in Huonville and Cygnet region.

I have completed the data collection and field-work and am aiming to finish my PhD by the mid this year.

How would you like to see your research used? The results that we have found so far are quite impressive and I’m hopeful that my research will help apple growers to better understand the drivers of fruit quality in ‘Envy’ apple and how different orchard management practices affect fruit quality. I hope to provide industry with preventive strategies that can help in improving fruit quality, reducing internal flesh browning, and maintaining long term storage potential of ‘Envy’.

What do you enjoy about studying/researching at TIA? I was drawn towards fruit and apple research because of concerns for the need for crop diversification in my home state of Punjab in India and a passion for growing fruit trees in my home garden.  I enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Honours in Horticulture) Degree from Punjab Agricultural University and thereafter was lucky to have the chance to study apples at the world’s best place with the best environment at TIA. The thing that I enjoy the most is when I am out in the field with apple trees particularly when they are at their blossom stage.

Can you share a “best moment” in your research so far? The best moment in my research so far is when I got a chance to present my research finding in front of horticultural producers, researchers and ag-professionals at the annual conference of Fruit Growers Tasmania held at Launceston in June 2021.

A word of advice or favourite quote?

“No Farmers, No Food, No Future – Support Farmers”