Apple & pear production in a changing climate

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Apple and pear production is vulnerable to climate change and research is underway to help understand the affects and find ways to reduce any negative impacts.

This project aims to broadly answer the following questions:

  1. What are the potential impacts of a changing climate on apple and pear production systems in Australia?
  2. What are some of the options for adaptation to reduce risk and take advantage of potential opportunities?

Apple and pear production systems are sensitive to temperature throughout the growth cycle. These crops are dependent on a dormant period which requires accumulation of chill during the autumn and winter to promote bud burst and flowering. During the subsequent fruit growth phase, fruit size and quality are affected directly by climate, through temperature-driven impacts on growth processes, colour development and sunburn damage.

This project will collect flowering, yield and fruit quality data for a number of commercial apple and pear varieties from three pome fruit growing regions in Australia (Stanthorpe, Qld; Tatura, Vic; Manjimup, WA). Initially, the data will be used to help understand the relationships between:

  • temperature and flowering time and quality, and
  • temperature and fruit yield and quality.

From this information, the potential impacts of projected changes in climate will  be determined. The effectiveness of different types of netting, as well as  variety selection will be assessed as potential adaptation options.

See also:

Leaf fall 2014  Individual bud monitoring 2013

   Leaf fall, Applethorpe Research Station, Qld, 2014         Assessing flowering stages of individual buds in 2013

(Photos courtesy Dr Heidi Parkes, DAFF QLD)

Regional Chill Accumulation

Cumulative Chill Portions 2013 and 2014








Video: Dealing with seasonal climate risk and extreme weather events

Dealing with seasonal climate risk and extreme weather events, a presentation by Dr Ian Goodwin, Agriculture Victoria, at the Regional Innovation Forum - ‘Delivering innovation through the horticulture supply chain’, Horticulture Centre of Excellence, Tatura May 2016


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The new Climate Change in Australia website went live at 9:00 AM AEST on 8 April 2015, providing access to an unprecedented range of tools, datasets and guidance material

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Heidi Parkes

Will extreme October heat impact on fruit size?

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Will un-seasonally hot weather in Queensland’s apple growing region this week, affect growth of developing fruitlets

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Full bloom pome fruit thumbnail

Chill portion calculator for Australian fruit trees

In order to better estimate winter chill, a tool has been developed by Rebecca Darbyshire (University of Melbourne) to assist growers assess chill conditions in fruit tree orchards

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Heidipresentation May2014

Apples & pears in a changing climate powerpoint May2014

Presentation by Heidi Parkes, QLD DAFF, on Apples & Pears in a changing climate at the FGV review May 2014

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Fruit tree annual cycle thumbnail

Winter chill and fruit trees fact sheet

PICCC fact sheet

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