The first 50 days after anthesis - implications for apple yield, fruit quality and canopy management from a New Zealand perspective
International markets are increasingly demanding fruit with high visual, taste and textural appeal. High sensory appeal of fruit products is widely recognized to result in repeat purchasing by the consumer, and premium returns to the producer. Hence, precision management of canopies is increasingly being implemented in modern orchard systems in New Zealand to reduce variable fruit quality in the supply chain. In a study using four commercial apple cultivars: Braeburn, Royal Gala, Scilate, and Scifresh, increases in fruit total non-structural carbohydrate concentration and fruit dry matter concentration were of the greatest magnitude 30-85 days after anthesis, but did not greatly change from day 85 until commercial harvest. By 50 days after anthesis, fruit instrumental firmness for each cultivar was ≈4 to 5 kg f, declining to ≈2 to 2.5 kg f by commercial harvest. Fruit dry matter concentration (i.e., taste potential) and flesh firmness (i.e., textural potential) at harvest appeared to be influenced in early fruit development. We discuss how both fruit yield and quality can be increased further in modern orchard systems through management practices (pruning and crop loading) and decisions (orchard and training system design) that work with the underlying physiology of trees to maximise early season fruit development.
van Hooijdonk, B.M., Oliver, M.J., Diack, R.N., Dayatilake, D., Friend, A.P., Boldingh, H., Breen, K.C., Tustin, D.S. and Johnston, J. (2020). The first 50 days after anthesis - implications for apple yield, fruit quality and canopy management from a New Zealand perspective. Acta Hortic. 1281, 191-206
flowering, harvest index, vigour, tree architecture, crop load, fruit growth, pruning