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Computer modelling and replication of real orchards to increase food production

Computer modelling could help orchardists design and plan their farms of the future. That is why University of Queensland researchers are utilizing "digital horticulture" which involves the optimization of orchard management practices. This is done by modelling in detail real or planned orchards with slow growing crops, like mangoes and macadamias.

Centre of Horticultural Science at Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) director Professor Neena Mitter says developing a digital model for an orchard with slow growing crops lets researchers conduct virtual experiments at a scale and speed never before possible.

A digital model of a mango orchard allowing for crop predictions and farm design options. Image: QAAFI-UQ

In one example, the time needed to understand how to prune a fruit orchard to optimize sunlight capture was cut from decades to days or hours. "The result is an acceleration in innovation that will help make food production more productive, resilient, and sustainable," Professor Mitter told

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