A multi-tool approach for assessing fruit growth, production and plant water status of a pear orchard

L. Manfrini, P. Losciale, B. Morandi, E. Pierpaoli, M. Zibordi, S. Anconelli, F. Galli, L. Corelli Grappadelli
Only very little is published on simple tools for monitoring seasonal information relating plant water status to fruit growth/yield in horticultural crops. This paper analyses data recorded in 2014 from the end of cytokinesis (early July) on 'Abbè Fetel' trees grafted on four different rootstocks (Farold, Sydo®, MH and MC) grown in the Fratelli Navarra Foundation Experimental Farm, in Ferrara, Italy. Trees were irrigated according to the “Irriframe” scheduling system designed by the “Consorzio per il Canale Emiliano Romagnolo (CER)” of the Emilia-Romagna Region based on the water balance method. Soil moisture was calculated from water inputs (rainfall and irrigation) and outputs identified as crop evapotranspiration (ETc). For each rootstock, three treatments were studied: fully irrigated following the Irriframe scheduling or 50 and 0% of the recommended water volume. Relevant information of plant development, fruit growth and leaf water status were recorded. In addition, a new approach for measuring plant activity, called IPL index, was undertaken. This index involves the measurements of chlorophyll fluorescence, carboxylation activity of RuBisCo, and air and leaf temperature. In high-quality pear production systems, water/fruit growth control is a must, but growers lack an objective methodology for assessing management decisions. The data collected were used to evaluate possible assistance services in management decisions taken by the growers and/or the consultants throughout the season. The goal was to assist the growers in improving the efficacy of crucial decisions along fruit growth, and to help and ensure high production levels without losses in quality. The presented work also intended to prove the concept of this methodology. Satisfying results may indicate that it is close to large-scale adoption.
Manfrini, L., Losciale, P., Morandi, B., Pierpaoli, E., Zibordi, M., Anconelli, S., Galli, F. and Corelli Grappadelli, L. (2018). A multi-tool approach for assessing fruit growth, production and plant water status of a pear orchard. Acta Hortic. 1197, 97-102
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1197.13
fruit size forecast, chlorophyll fluorescence, tree crops, decision support system

Acta Horticulturae