New climate change projects for apples, pears and avocados

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 30th December 2009

What will be the effects of predicted temperature increases on fruit crops in the future? How will climate policies like the federal government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme affect farm businesses?

Horticulture body Growcom is set to address these issues with new research commencing next year with the assistance of Horticulture Australia (HAL), Apple & Pear Australia and Avocados Australia.

The first project focuses on apples and pears and will involve David Putland, Growcom’s Climate Change Project Officer, Peter Deuter, Senior Principal Horticulturist, Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries, and a number of other researchers from QPIF, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Victoria Department of Primary Industries and NSW Department of Industry & Investment (Primary Industries).

“The primary aim of this project is to assess the likely impact of the predicted temperature increases across a number of apple and pear production regions,” said Mr Putland.
“This will be done by linking current knowledge of crop requirements with regional analyses of climate change scenarios while considering viable adaptation strategies that may allow production to continue under challenging conditions.”

The second project focuses on avocados and will also assess the physical impacts of climate change on avocado production using methods similar to those described for the project on apples and pears.

However, this project will also provide the avocado industry with a detailed analysis of the process and impacts of the government’s proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) and other climate-related policies (such as the National Carbon Offset Standard and the rules for carbon footprinting). It will involve researchers from both Growcom (David Putland and Land & Water Delivery Manager Scott Wallace) and QPIF (Peter Deuter and Simon Newett).

“As part of this project, we will calculate the carbon footprint of a selection of avocado farms to assess the level of emissions form the industry,” Mr Putland advised.

Both projects are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.