Apple and pear

See how the apple and pear levy is being put to work! Scroll down to learn about Hort Innovation’s current investment of the industry levy, and results, in the R&D and marketing snapshots – or click on a project below to go straight to its update:


Along with Hortlink, don’t forget that Hort Innovation’s apple and pear grower page is an important source of industry info for levy payers. On it you’ll find:

  • The new Apple and Pear Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for 2017-2021, with an easy-to-read ‘at a glance’ version and the full PDF document. The SIP was finalised in April after close consultation with growers and other industry stakeholders. It outlines priorities for strategic investment in the industry, and will be used like a ‘roadmap’ by the apple and pear Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) when providing advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments.
  • The latest meeting notes from the apple and pear SIAP, which most recently met over two days in Sydney on March 20 and 21, and is due to meet again during the last quarter of 2017.
  • Current financial documents regarding your levy, including the July 2016 to March 2017 financial operating statement, and expenditure summaries for R&D and marketing projects.
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the industry.

Any questions?

As well as the apple and pear grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Mark Spees is always available to answer questions on the apple and pear R&D and marketing program on 0439 574 173 or at



Review of the Biosecurity Plan for the Apple and Pear Industry (AP15003)

Status: Completed project

What was it all about? The identification, prioritisation and management of key biosecurity risks – through review and implementation of a biosecurity plan – are critical industry biosecurity preparedness activities. This project has completed an update of the apple and pear industry’s biosecurity plan, providing a framework for risk mitigation and for managing the impact pest and disease incursions.

The new Biosecurity Plan for the Apple and Pear Industry document is currently being circulated for industry and government endorsement, after which it will be released widely to industry.

Understanding apple and pear production systems in a changing climate (AP12029)

Status: Completed project

What was it all about? This project was tasked with helping reduce the vulnerability of the Australian apple and pear industry to changes in our climate. Its key activities included modelling a changing climate to investigate potential effects on winter chill, tree flowering, fruit sunburn and fruit yield, as well as looking at appropriate adaptive responses for the industry.

In modelling future climate scenarios – both medium and worst-case scenarios for the years 2030 and 2050 – the researchers found:

  • Winter chill accumulation is set to decline in each of the country’s pome-fruit-growing regions (the historical data shows that regions with a milder climate have been experiencing a decline in annual winter chill accumulation since the late 1960s, while colder regions have yet to be impacted)
  • Warmer locations are expected to experience a reduction in winter chill of more than 20 per cent by the year 2050
  • The coldest apple and pear growing regions are expected to experience a winter-chill decline of less than 10 to 14 per cent
  • All pome fruit regions can expect to experience an increase in the number of extreme heat days during the growing season, with the greatest impacts likely to be in regions with hot summer climates.

In short, the researchers report that climate change “will add significant variability into the pome fruit production system with respect to flowering and fruit quality”. It is expected that growing regions are likely to experience symptoms of inadequate chilling with increasing frequency in future years, including greater variability in flowering dates between seasons, cultivars and individual trees, and irregular and protracted flowering. Looking at the Cripps Pink apple cultivar in particular, the research has indicated an earlier full-bloom date can be expected in high-chill locations by 2050, while a later bloom date is expected in milder winter locations by 2030 (with flowering dates delayed by more than a week by 2050).

With an increase in extreme heat days, an increased risk of fruit sunburn is also expected.

The researchers note that while Australian growers are used to dealing with some level of climate variability – and that the effects on flowering and fruit quality may be within the range of grower experience in some regions up to around 2030 – by 2050 growers will be operating outside of current experience.

In regards to adaptive measures to combat the expected effects of a changing climate the project has found:

  • Dormancy-breaking sprays are likely to be a viable tool for managing delayed and variable flowering in some cultivars in lower winter chill years, based on initial trials.
  • Despite this, planting lower-chill cultivars and, as possible, matching cultivars with climate is the preferred adaption option.
  • To this end, there is a need for detailed information to help growers be able to match apple and pear cultivars with suitable growing climates – including matching cultivar chilling requirements with winter chill, and heat tolerance with summer temperatures.
  • The use of netting will reduce the risk of sunburn damage, with the research showing air-temperature thresholds for fruit under netting were higher than the thresholds for fruit without netting. Project trials in Western Australia found black and white netting to be equally effective in reducing fruit surface temperatures in late summer.
  • There is a need for industry to look towards guidelines for managing extreme heat in orchards, including the use of evaporative cooling, stress-reduction chemicals, tree canopy structure and more.

The researchers have also recommended:

  • Comprehensive in-orchard monitoring of flowering dates across cultivars to provide early indication of cultivars that might be impacted by warmer winters, as well as identification of subtle shifts in the timing of flowering between cultivars and their pollinisers.
  • In blocks where flowering is becoming increasingly irregular, growers will need to assess the point at which the increased cost of inputs and effort required to produce a consistently high quality crop make a block of trees unprofitable.

Full details can be found in the project’s final report, which will soon be available to order at Final reports are free to Australian horticulture levy payers, registered Hort Innovation members and industry representative bodies.

The project has also produced an interactive chill calculator, to enable growers to calculate winter chill accumulation in their region during dormancy – find it here.

Australian apple and pear industry innovation and adoption program (AP15004)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Beginning in 2016, this project is responsible for accelerating and expanding the adoption of innovation and technology in apple and pear businesses, and facilitating industry capacity-building, via the apple and pear Future Orchards program.

Future Orchards is an internationally renowned technology-transfer project. It includes orchard field walks, orchard benchmarking, and orchard business analysis to deliver world’s best practice and R&D linkages to apple and pear growers in Australia’s major growing regions.

The project also aims to upskill the workforce, improve grower crop and business risk mitigation strategies, and provide grower services and technical support along the supply chain. It seeks to improve crop protection stewardship and chemical access, provide biosecurity preparedness, improve post-harvest productivity, and nurture technical preparedness for export.

Project AP15004 is linked to Delivery of apple and pear Future Orchards extension program (AP15005) which is responsible for the technical delivery of the Future Orchards program. AP15005 covers the Focus Orchards network to demonstrate the adoption of best practice and new technology, Focus Orchard properties, OrchardNet, Orchard Business Analysis reporting and regional trials.

What’s the latest update? Winter Future Orchard walks have been scheduled throughout June this year, with a focus on ‘future trees’. For more information, contact APAL Technical Manager Angus Crawford on (03) 9329 3511, or 0427 111 852, or at

Southern Loop Orchard Walks

Northern Tasmania – June 19, 2017

Southern Victoria – June 20, 2017

Adelaide Hills, South Australia – June 21, 2017

Manjimup, Western Australia – June 23, 2017

Northern Loop Orchard Walks

Shepparton, Victoria – June 26, 2017

Batlow, New South Wales – June 27, 2017

Bilpin, New South Wales – June 28, 2017

Stanthorpe, Queensland – June 30, 2017

Other Future Orchards activities and resources have continued to include…

  • The Future Orchards library, which features presentations and notes from past walks, as well as Future Orchard webinars
  • Focus Orchards/orchard trials
  • OrchardNet, an online database allowing live business updates to be shared with managers, consultants, pack houses and exporters. It also tracks history, provides benchmarks and forecast performances, as well as housing Focus Orchard data.
  • Other extension activities, such as the preparation of relevant articles for Australian Fruitgrower and updates provided in the Future Orchards section of the APAL website here.

Integrated pest and disease management – phase 2 (AP15001)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? This project follows on from the industry’s previous integrated pest and disease management project. The original work resulted in approval to import and release the Mastrus ridens wasp as a biocontrol agent against codling moth in apples, to supplement pheromone-mediated mating disruption of the moth. This second phase will see the release of Mastrus ridens into sites in Southern Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria for study of the wasp’s dispersal, predation and hyper-parasitism.

What’s the latest update? In late April, the project saw the first release of Mastrus ridens at Batlow and Orange in New South Wales. About 20,000 wasps were released in each area. This follows earlier field releases in Stanthorpe, Queensland, and in northern Victoria. You can read about these in the last edition of Hortlink here. Find more details in the next Hortlink as the project continues its field work, and also the investigation of the potential toxicity of pesticides to Mastrus ridens.

Apple and pear industry minor use program (AP16001)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Through this project, levy funds and Australian Government contributions are used to renew and apply for new minor use permits for the apple and pear industry. These submissions are prepared and submitted to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

What’s the latest update? All current minor use permits for the industry are searchable at Permit updates are also circulated in Hort Innovation’s Growing Innovation e-newsletter, which levy-paying members receive monthly. Not a member? Sign up for free here.

PIPS Orchard Productivity Program (AP09031)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Originally this program was established to increase efficiency within and assist sustainability of apple and pear orchards. It was due for completion at the end of 2014, when a two-year variation was granted to extend specific work into artificial spur extinction (ASE). As such, the current focus of AP09031 is on developing the ASE technique as a crop-load management tool for the industry. By selectively removing buds to imitate natural bud extinction, ASE can be used to precisely determine where and how much fruit is set on trees.

What’s the latest update? While no new milestone report was due in the period since the last edition of Hortlink (2017, edition 1), you can see last edition’s update here and will find the latest info in an upcoming edition of Hortlink.

To watch a video from the project demonstrating ASE, click here.

Profitable pears: maximising productivity and quality of new pear varieties (AP12002)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Underway since 2013, this project is investigating management techniques and physiological mechanisms to increase the profitability of growing pears. It uses an experimental orchard (the Pear Field Laboratory) with new red-blushed pear varieties developed previously under the National Pear Breeding Program, and is producing results that will impact on orchard irrigation, rootstock and cultivar selection, planting arrangement and tree training.

What’s the latest update? The project has developed and published new grower guidelines for the management of young trees for red-blushed cultivars Lanya, Deliza and ANP-0534. Download the Pear Planting and Management Systems for New Blush Pears orchard management guide from Hort Innovation here. It includes information on planting arrangement, rootstock selection, tree training and pruning, as well as irrigation and the use of plant growth regulators.

Videos and other resources related to the project also continue to be available here.

Meanwhile, while no new milestone report on project activities was due in the period since the last edition of Hortlink (2017, edition 1), you can read last edition’s update here.

Improved tree and fruit nutrition for the Australian apple industry (AP14023)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Research into optimising nitrogen-use efficiency has the potential to boost productivity in apple growing. This project is developing a multi-season nitrogen budget underpinned by fertigation research, to in turn produce a user-friendly decision-support tool to assist growers across the country in optimising irrigation and fertigation application.

What’s the latest update? There are a number of activities under this project, working towards a common goal. In a nutshell, work is focusing on validating an international research model for predicting tree water and nitrogen use, and then using this as the basis for the grower-friendly decision-support tool. With no milestone report due since the last edition of Hortlink, see what was happening at the time of last reporting here, and look for more info in the next Hortlink.

Physiological, metabolic and molecular basis of biennial bearing in apple (AP15002) and Physiological, metabolic and molecular basis of biennial bearing in apple – Australian component of AP15002 (AP15013)

Status: Ongoing projects

What’s it all about? Biennial bearing is a major constraint to apple flowering and production, and it’s estimated that around 30 per cent of commercial cultivars are susceptible. While this cropping irregularity is usually managed by chemical, mechanical or manual thinning methods, the underlying physiological, metabolic and molecular plant processes are largely unknown. Beginning in 2016, these two related projects aim to increase understanding of the mechanisms involved in flowering time control of apple crops.

What’s the latest update? With no milestone reports recently due, look out for project updates in the next edition of Hortlink – and to see what was happening at the time of last reporting, see the last edition of Hortlink here. You can also read more about both projects in this article from an older edition of Australian Fruitgrower, which is funded by Hort Innovation’s National apple and pear grower communications program (AP15007).

InfoPome 3 (AP15008)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? InfoPome is the apple and pear industry’s stock tracking system. Cool-store data is voluntarily provided by growers and collated into national reports of the amounts of apples and pears in cool-store by month. The reports are separated by variety and state, allowing growers to see stock levels currently available in storage. Supply of this data (and analysis reports drawing out critical messages) allows informed decisions about sale prices and volumes to be sold.

What’s the latest update? Weekly, automated InfoPome reports continue to be produced as usual and are available to those cool stores that have contributed to the data collection. The reports provide a timely snapshot of the stockholding status nationally, by state and by variety. To supply data, cool stores receive automated SMS and/or email messages containing links to enter their stocks. A free InfoPome app is also available for iOS and Android.

National apple and pear grower communications program (AP15007)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Funded by Hort Innovation using the apple and pear R&D levy and contributions from the Australian Government, this program ensures apple and pear growers are kept up-to-date with the latest industry news, information and R&D updates. Its ultimate goal is to support the industry as a whole to advance and grow, to allow informed decision-making in apple and pear businesses, and to facilitate the uptake of new practices, technologies and information.

What’s the latest update? Delivered through Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL), the project continues to produce and maintain key communication channels, including but not limited to:

  • The bi-monthly Australian Fruitgrower magazine, viewable online here
  • The weekly Industry Juicee-newlsetter (find archived issues here)
  • The APAL website, which was redeveloped and relaunched during 2016 under this project
  • APAL social media, including Twitter (@applesnpearsAU), Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Video content, hosted on the APAL YouTube channel and including demonstration videos, expert information/discussion videos, and grower showcases.

The project is also involved in the production of media releases, has delivered media training to industry representatives, maintains an industry photo library on image-sharing service Flickr (available here) and produces ‘hot topics’.

Other R&D projects of note…
  • Horticulture trade intelligence reporting 2017-2019 (MT16011), a new project to provide easy-to-read and easy-to-act-upon trade performance information to Australia’s horticulture industry. Quarterly reports will be made available through the Hort Innovation website, with the first apple and pear report soon to be downloadable from the apple and pear grower page.
  • Consumption of juiced fruit and vegetables data analytics (MT16008), a short project that has investigated the fruit, vegetable and juice consumption of Australians. The research has revealed a significant opportunity to grow consumption, with over half of Australian adults not currently eating enough fruit – and over 65 per cent not eating enough veg – to meet Australia’s dietary guidelines. Read more about the project findings here. The research was a multi-industry effort also involving the citrus and vegetable industries.
  • Independent program coordination for apple and pear productivity program (AP14022), which supports the coordination and integration of a number or projects, which together make up ‘PIPS2’ program for the industry (the second iteration of the Productivity, Irrigation, Pests and Soils program). PIPS2 projects include AP14023, AP15001, AP15002. AP09031, AP12002 and AP15013, as described above. Activities of the coordination project include improving communication within and between project teams and the apple and pear industry, coordinating linkages and activities between PIPS2 and the Future Orchards program, and more.
  • Apple and pear industry leadership initiative – 2016/17 (AP15015), which supports Apple & Pear New Horizons Scholarships for young people, to help accelerate change in the apple and pear industry. The scholarships are used towards the completion of a Diploma of Agribusiness at Victoria’s Marcus Oldham College. The 2017 scholarship recipient is Jack Bartels, who is currently working with Hansen Orchards in Tasmania.
  • MRL risk analysis for major export markets of the pome fruit industry (AP14002), which collects information on export requirements with regards to pesticides and residue limits. The project maintains and updates maximum residue limit (MRL) tables for key export markets, and supplies these to APAL for distribution to industry.
  • Australian apple and pear industry market development program (AP15009), which has recently concluded and has produced a new export plan for the apple and pear industry. The report will be released to industry shortly. When available, copies can be requested from APAL.
  • Prevar 3: new pomme fruit products (AP14025), an ongoing project that is responsible for developing innovative, high-quality new varieties of apples and pears. Project activities include breeding and commercialization.
  • Enhanced National Bee Pest Surveillance Program (MT16005), which is delivering a nationally coordinated bee-pest surveillance program to help safeguard honey-bee and pollinator-dependent industries in Australia. The surveillance will enable the early detection of high-priority pest incursions of honey bees, providing the best opportunity for successful pest eradication. The apple and pear industry is one of several contributors to the project’s work.
  • SITplus: Developing and optimising production of a male-only, temperature-sensitive-lethal, strain of Qfly, B. tryoni (MT13059), which is developing a ‘temperature-sensitive lethal, male-selecting’ strain of Queensland fruit fly (Qfly). To put simply, the research will allow for male-only, sterile fruit flies to be bred in large numbers. It is one of the key projects in the broader strategic co-investment SITplus initiative that’s tackling the issue of Qfly. The male flies are to ultimately be released in growing regions of south-eastern Australian that are affected by Qfly. They will come to outnumber the wild male population in these areas and by mating with wild females – and limiting the opportunity for wild males to do so – they are intended to lead to the collapse of wild Qfly populations. The apple and pear industry is one of several involved in the project.



Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the apple and pear marketing activity into a range of activities to grow awareness and consumption of the fruits.


Sydney Royal Easter Show 2017

The Sydney Royal Easter Show ran from April 6 to 19, with an estimated 922,000 visitors. With a presence in the Woolworth Food Farm, the apple and pear stand showcased fresh Aussie Apples and Australian Pears, with staff making Kanzi, Jazz, Granny Smith and Royal Gala ‘slinkies’ (spiralised apples) – of which 14,000 were sold – and 2500 pear smoothies. The stand also distributed 6000 recipe cards with ideas for healthy eating and snacking. The Show’s school day was also a success, with orchardist Barney Hyams teaching eight school groups all about growing apples.

Apples (and pears) at Easter ShowGetting ready for showgoers at the Sydney Royal Easter Show



For Aussie Apples, a robust national marketing campaign is underway using a mix of channels to promote the industry’s new Get Your Crunch On creative and messaging. The campaign is all about encouraging mindful snacking – positioning apples as the go-to healthy snack – building varietal relevance, and generally growing the apple category.

Television campaign – ‘Get Your Crunch On’

A new Aussie Apples television commercial (TVC) first aired on Australian screens on March 25, during the round-six netball coverage on the Nine network. As part of the industry’s partnership with Netball Australia, the TVC will air in excess of 48 times across the netball coverage, right through until the grand final game.

In addition, two heavy bursts of TV advertising were launched alongside the netball coverage, to take the Aussie Apples message to the widest possible audience. Running across television networks 7, Nine and Ten, as well as Foxtel, the schedule began on March 26 for eight weeks. It captures strongly rated shows popular with the Aussie Apples target audience (grocery buyers aged 25 to 54), ranging from My Kitchen Rules to This Is Us.

See the TVC here.

Netball Australia activity

There are many elements to Aussie Apple’s partnership with Netball Australia. Highlighting this, on March 26 and April 2, the full ‘Get Your Crunch On’ promotion was activated at two televised netball games in Sydney (with 90,900 viewers) and Melbourne (with 80,400 viewers). This involved a team, including the industry’s Mr Crunch mascot, handing out apples and promoting Aussie Apples. There was also a social media competition to upload photos of crunching on apples, to win tickets to the netball finals.

Apples and netballThe ‘Get Your Crunch On’ promotion at a recent netball game

Out-of-home advertising

From April 13, the 30-second TVC advertising moved temporarily from television to out-of-home advertising, to avoid the low rating TV period during the Easter holidays. As a result, the campaign was screened at 150 movie cinemas nationally, in the previews to blockbuster movies such as Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and more. It was also shown on 100 digital panels nationally, with activity set for seven weeks.

Digital and social media
  • Digital advertising. Beginning in April, the Aussie Apples digital activity kicked off with encouraging results. The activity has complimented the TV campaign, with both 15-second and 30-second Aussie Apples ads running as video ‘pre-rolls’ across a number of placements to help build reach and awareness for Aussie apples. In just the first three weeks, the ad was served to over 250,000 people, with an average completion rate of close to 70 per cent, which is fantastic by industry standards.
  • Facebook. With social media, the fans who come to the Aussie Apples Facebook page ( continue to enjoy sharing their favourite recipes, and are highly engaged in discussions around the versatility of apples and how they’re a great snack for on the move.
  • Website. The consumer-facing Aussie Apples website ( is currently being refreshed to bring it in line with the Get Your Crunch on campaign. The new site will incorporate videos, enhanced imagery and a grower portal.



MyFoodBook partnership

Hort Innovation is continuing the Australian Pears partnership with MyFoodBook (, following successful results in 2016. The MyFoodBook recipe and cookbook community includes more than 200,000 subscribers, and promotes recipes to more than 2.8 million people each month.

Australian Pears recipes have recently been updated and now cover consumer favourites ‘baking’, ‘snacks’ and ‘salads’. These recipes are hosted on MyFoodBook and at, and will be utilised in other aspects of the marketing campaign.

In April, the Grilled Pear, Rocket and Prosciutto Salad recipe achieved a remarkable result on MyFoodBook with over 2300 views, over 100 likes, shares and pins on Pinterest, plus over 50 ‘extended actions’, where consumers saved, exported or shared the recipe.

For Mother’s Day, a special-edition e-book was also released featuring a Pear and Oat Slice with Australian Pears recipe.

MyFoodBook have also featured pears in its ‘What’s in Season’ section, which explains how to cook with pears, pear varieties and how to choose the right pear.

Print coverage

Australian Pears have featured in a double-page spread in the May edition of Fitness First Magazine, with a full-page advertisement positioned alongside an editorial piece explaining how Australian Pears assist in maintaining good stomach health. The magazine reaches 116,000 people.

Pears in Fitness First magazine

Australian Pears in Fitness First Magazine

Out-of-home advertising

Australian Pears digital advertising is currently appearing across 263 gyms nationwide. Mirror and door decals have also been placed in 20 of the busiest gyms in Australia, featuring Australian Pears Healthy Choice Smoothie advertising (which positions pear-based smoothies as ‘The pearfect end to the perfect workout’. The gym locations were picked based on their proximity to food grocers and major retailers, and will reach in excess of 600,000 people per week across six weeks of activity.

Pears at the gym

Showcasing Australian Pears inside Australian gyms

Digital advertising

The out-of-home Australian Pears activity is being complemented by digital activity, launched on April 2. This campaign is making use of existing MyFoodBook content and targeting users who are on their mobile phones while at the gym (this involves using a phone’s location to deliver relevant messaging, via high-impact mobile ads). The mobile ads are expected to yield over 1.8 million impressions over an eight-week period.

New Australian Pears ambassador

Popular dietitian Joanna McMillan has been welcomed as the new ambassador for Australian Pears, and will begin to promote pears messaging – stay tuned for an update in the next Hortlink.

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