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Apricots in Australia: a race for the perfect size

Like cherries, that we covered in our previous post, apricots are now close to picking in Australia.

Here too, explains Daniel Free, Phytech's Client Success Manager, a short season means that every irrigation decision has significant implication on the final outcome, with little time to correct mistakes.

ANS Orchards, located in Shepparton part of the Goulburn Valley fruit bowl, are using Phytech to monitor trees' status as well as fruits' size and adapt their irrigation to reach their desired fruit size.

Tree sensors measure micro-variations in the trunk's diameter (Maximum Daily Shrinkage -MDS), which are then translated by Phytech's algorithm into plant status - the actual water-demand of the tree represented by a simple color-coded indicator. Keeping the trees' in the green zone and avoiding yield-affecting stress allow growers to maximize production while saving water. In addition, fruit sensors help track the fruit size in real-time.

Fruit growers can determine their desired fruit size and harvest date at the beginning of the season, and Phytech's system generates a trajectory path for the fruit to reach its destination.

The black line represents the trajectory and the orange line is the actual fruit size. The green line is trees' growth rate. These 2 data stream enable growers to navigate their way towards their goal size, by adapting their irrigation and tracking how the size of the fruit changes compared to its trajectory line.

Convenient weather conditions made it relatively simple to avoid stress, focus attention on fruit growth, and optimize size by applying irrigation.

Last year ANS orchards managed to reach their desired fruit size on time, and this year looks bright as well in terms of achieving their goals. You can see in the above screenshot from the app how ANS were able to enlarge their fruit size with timely irrigation, after noticing that size-gain has decreased. By monitoring irrigation, plant status and fruit size growers have a clear path to reach their destination

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