Ap­ple Fu­tures sec­ond gen­er­a­tion an­nounced

The Orchardist - - >>conference 2014 -

The Ap­ple Fu­tures pro­gramme has been hailed as a great suc­cess story for the New Zealand in­dus­try, with sci­ence led by Jim Walker that rev­o­lu­tionised grow­ers' ap­proach to spray­ing on their or­chards. The use of harsh chem­i­cals was phased out and re­placed with softer tar­geted sprays for the con­trol of in­sects and dis­ease.

Ap­ple Fu­tures is a form of IFP (In­te­grated Fruit Pro­duc­tion) and was in­sti­gated to re­duce the use of harsh organophos­phate

Plant and Food Re­search sci­en­tist Dr Jim Walker an­nounced the be­gin­ning of a new re­search phase for the New Zealand pipfruit in­dus­try, with the launch of Ap­ple Fu­tures II fo­cussing on Asian mar­ket ac­cess.

chem­i­cals aimed at killing codling moth, es­pe­cially for the United States mar­ket. New Zealand grow­ers have achieved the re­mark­able feat of re­duc­ing in­sec­ti­cide use by 83% in the last decade. In­tro­duc­ing nat­u­ral preda­tors, tim­ing of sprays and mat­ing dis­rup­tion in codling moth have been ef­fec­tive tools. Av­er­age residue lev­els of in­sec­ti­cides were be­tween 0% and 9%, and av­er­age residue lev­els of fungi­cides were 0% to 14% of Euro­pean MRLs (Max­i­mum Residue Lim­its). No other coun­try comes close to this sort of re­sult.

The pro­gramme also aimed at a nil-residue path to be at the fore­front of Euro­pean re­quire­ments. New needs have evolved with greater fo­cus on ex­port­ing to Asian coun­tries. Jim told grow­ers at the pipfruit con­fer­ence he felt the in­dus­try's tar­get of reach­ing $1 bil­lion of ex­port fruit by 2022 was too con­ser­va­tive as Asian mar­kets of­fer such huge po­ten­tial.

Jim ex­pects more than 50% of New Zealand's pipfruit ex­ports will be des­tined for Asia in the fu­ture, and Mid­dle East­ern mar­kets can be ex­pected to dou­ble.

Meet­ing new prob­lems will be the fo­cus of Ap­ple Fu­tures II, with fungi­cides de­vel­op­ing re­sis­tance to black spot, al­lay­ing food safety scares like E. coli, and re­search­ing fur­ther into la­tent in­fec­tions with the ap­pear­ance of bulls­eye rot which led to is­sues in China last sea­son.

“Pre­serv­ing the global mar­ket strat­egy has led to an in­crease in mar­ket com­plex­ity. We need a per­fect pro­gramme that de­liv­ers residue-free fruit.

“We have con­sid­er­able chal­lenges, with no ac­cess to Korea; a need for fu­mi­ga­tion for Ja­pan (although this re­quire­ment will be elim­i­nated by 2020); dis­rupted ac­cess into China and other Asian mar­kets; the United States and Aus­tralia also pose prob­lems.”

Re­sis­tance to the black spot fungi­cide do­dine has led to a re­duc­tion in its use, and two fur­ther groups of fungi­cide can no longer be used for the same rea­son.

Ef­fec­tive bio­con­trol in leafrol­ler has re­duced num­bers in or­chards, with 95% death in the lar­val stage. An ec­topar­a­sitoid wasp Mas­trus ri­dens, im­ported from the home of the ap­ple, Kaza­khstan, is ex­pected to make fur­ther in-roads into re­duc­ing codling moth pop­u­la­tions.

There is a nil tol­er­ance for bugs, scale, midge and woolly ap­ple aphid in Asian mar­kets. A whole raft of steps need to be taken to achieve nil lev­els of ap­ple leafcurl­ing midge, in­clud­ing novel ‘lure and kill' sys­tems.

Mod­els for pre­dict­ing la­tent fruit in­fec­tion need to be de­vel­oped, and there are many gaps in the con­trol of Euro­pean canker.

“Pre­serv­ing the global mar­ket strat­egy has led to an in­crease in mar­ket com­plex­ity. We need a per­fect pro­gramme that de­liv­ers residue-free fruit.

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