Cherry communications program (CY15002)
Status: New project, carrying on from Maintenance and ongoing development of communications across the Australian cherry industry (CY11026)
What’s it all about? Like its predecessor, this program is focused on strong communication with cherry growers and other industry stakeholders. It works to supply timely industry news, R&D updates, marketing outcomes and other key information so that growers are able to make informed decisions as new opportunities and challenges arise.
What’s the latest update? Beginning in July 2016, some of the outputs of the program will include continued production of the industry’s quarterly Australian Cherries magazine, which will be available in both print and in electronic form suitable for desktop, mobile and tablet viewing. The industry’s monthly e-newsletter will also be continued, with videos communicating R&D project outputs also being produced and distributed via the e-newsletter.
National cherry development program (CY12023)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? This project coordinates annual roadshows for the cherry industry to keep growers and other industry stakeholders up-to-date with the details of cherry projects and their impacts, as well as other industry issues.
What’s the latest update? This year roadshows took place in October – in Victoria on the 3rd, in New South Wales over the 4th and 5th, in South Australia on the 7th, and in Tasmania on the 10th.
The programs were developed around state priorities, with a range of presentations, field walks and experts arranged. A key guest speaker was Associate Professor Dr Mathew Whiting from Washington State University, who has recently completed several projects on mechanical pruning in apples and sweet cherries and also presented on new information collected from recent projects on cherry pollination, fruit set and fruit size.
Improving fruit quality and consistency in cherries through maximised nutrient availability (CY12002)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? Beginning in 2012, this five-year Tasmanian project is investigating whether soil microbiology can be utilised to maximise the availability and uptake of plant nutrients – essentially improving soil health to in turn boost crop yields and fruit quality.
What’s the latest update? No new milestone report was due in the period since the last edition of Hortlink (Winter 2016). At the time of last reporting the project was revealing interesting information on annual changes under conventional nutrient management and alternative treatments involving humates with combined minerals, and humates with ‘effective microbes’ (a mix of about 80 different species of co-existing beneficial microorganisms).
Data analysis from the 2015/16 season was still in progress. To date alternative treatments appear to be producing a higher percentage of A-grade fruit with a reduction in cracking.
Optimal management of pre-harvest rot in sweet cherry (CY13001)
Status: Near-completed project
What’s it all about? Due for completion by the end of November, this project has had a number of key aims around knowledge and management of pre-harvest rot in sweet cherries. These have included:
- To clarify the key pathogens involved in pre-harvest rot, to ensure management is targeted at the right pathogens
- To determine infection pathways for these pathogens, to ensure management is targeted at the right time
- To develop a weather-based tool for growers that can be used to gauge infection risk of certain pathogens
- To develop a monitoring protocol in which pre-harvest rot incidence can be used to gauge rot risk at harvest.
What’s the latest update? No new milestone report was due in the period since the last edition of Hortlink (Winter 2016). At the time of last reporting, final field season activities had been completed, including assessments of latent infection and rot for orchards in Tasmania and New South Wales. A weather-based infection-risk tool had been developed and was being tested with new infection models derived from the project.
The project’s final report will be summarised in the next edition of Hortlink and, when available, will be able to be ordered at http://horticulture.com.au/about/resources-publications-final-reports (final reports are free to Australian horticulture levy payers, registered Hort Innovation members and industry representative bodies).
Other R&D projects of note…
» Australian cherry evaluation utilising precocious rootstocks (CY12024), which is examining the most promising precocious rootstocks currently available to the Australian cherry industry. It will provide new, well-adapted varieties and information on preferred rootstock combinations to increase profitability and a competitive advantage for Australian growers.
» Export readiness and market access (CY16004), a new project for the industry for which Hort Innovation is currently appointing a service provider. The project will support the export readiness of the cherry industry over the next three seasons by training growers, packers and exporters on the requirements for export to markets of interest; facilitating the registration and audit of export facilities; and developing and implementing a robust monitoring and management program for a range of pests and disease of quarantine concern to export markets. It will also maintain a biosecurity management plan and deliver an export strategy detailing market access, improvement and development priorities, among other goals.
» Cherry industry market access program (CY16006), for which Hort Innovation is currently appointing service providers. This new program will have five sub-projects to:
- Establish the risk of codling moth in the cherry export pathway, and recommend how it could be mitigated to an appropriate level of protection
- Provide data packages and peer-reviewed publications on methyl bromide disinfestation of cherries for Queensland fruit fly
- Update cherry industry biosecurity planning resources and progress implementation of biosecurity planning in the industry
- Enable implementation of brown sugar flotation testing for Queensland fruit fly in the industry systems approach, at all appropriate control points in the production chain
- Undertake and report on a program of investigation and consultation on opening cherry market access to the US, based on irradiation and methyl bromide.
» Thrips species in NSW cherries and the timing of associated ring russet injury (CY16000), a new project kicking off in September, which will examine thrips species and activity in New South Wales orchards, and consider correlation with ring russet damage.