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Precision nitrogen fertigation and irrigation management for improved apple quality


Swarts, ND and Hardie, M and Close, DC, Precision nitrogen fertigation and irrigation management for improved apple quality, Acta Horticulturae, 17-22 August 2014, Brisbane, Australia, pp. 485-489. ISSN 0567-7572 (2016) [Refereed Conference Paper]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 ISHS

DOI: doi:10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1130.73


Nitrogen (N) management is a balance to meet tree demands for current seasons’ crop as well as for internal storage for the subsequent season whilst reducing N loss via runoff and deep drainage. Whilst fertigation is commonly practised by apple growers in Australia, research into tree nutrient requirements and therefore fertigation management strategies are limited. In the Huon valley of southern Tasmania, we applied N (Ca(NO3)2) treatments pre- and post-harvest combined with high (4 L/hr), medium (2.3 L/hr) and low (1.6 L/hr) irrigation treatments to 10 year-old ‘Galaxy’ trees grafted on M26 rootstocks. We measured yield, fruit quality attributes and fruit N content. Data from the second season revealed fruit in the low irrigation treatments were significantly smaller (152 g) but firmer, with higher total soluble solids (11.80 Brix). Irrigation treatment had no effect on fruit colour, however fruit background colour decreased significantly with increased current season N application. Fruit N content was not significantly influenced by N application. This study demonstrates the strong linkage between N and irrigation management on the above ground components of orchard production and urges caution for growers implementing pre-harvest fertigation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:fruit size, colour, firmness, total soluble solids, ‘Galaxy’, Tasmania
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Horticultural production
Research Field:Horticultural crop growth and development
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Horticultural crops
Objective Field:Pome fruit, pip fruit
UTAS Author:Swarts, ND (Dr Nigel Swarts)
UTAS Author:Hardie, M (Mr Marcus Hardie)
UTAS Author:Close, DC (Professor Dugald Close)
ID Code:102167
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2015-08-03
Last Modified:2018-07-20

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