Preparation of the 2021 Apple and Pear Crop Estimate is underway with the final report due for release by Friday, 29 January.
Nic Finger, of Victorian-based consultancy Fruit Help, who is completing the estimate in 2021 in conjunction with a network of project advisors across the country, and previously led the project at AgFirst, is urging growers to get behind the project to ensure its usefulness as a tool and long term asset for industry.
“In order to generate the crop estimate, it is vital that a cross-section of on-farm data is available,” Nic said. “Growers know their own crops better than anyone and it is essential that their insights into crop loads, fruit quality and any regional challenges are identified and captured within the crop estimate model.”
The annual apple and pear crop estimate, which is confidential and only available to levy-paying growers, is a strategic levy investment by Hort Innovation and estimates crop volumes by state and nationally to inform levy-paying growers and marketers of expected crop volumes to assist their decision-making processes for harvest, marketing and storage as well as longer term planting or grafting decisions.
Nic said he was hoping for a lift in participation rates across all states this year with renewed focus on crop estimation for labour planning driven by the potential for a shortage of pickers at harvest.
“With the season well underway, now is a critical time in determining crop volumes and fruit quality for the impending apple and pear harvest,” Nic said.
“Historical data is a great starting point in determining your expected crop volumes for each variety and then altered to meet this year’s crop loading for each variety or block”
Nic said while the crop estimate offered a number of short-term insights, it also helped build a longer term picture of trends and patterns creating a valuable industry asset in regards to export opportunities, labour planning and to help inform focus for other industry projects.
The 2021 Apple and Crop Estimate final report will be communicated to levy-paying industry members via APAL.
Visit APAL for more information