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Growers throwing away healthy profits

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When growers grade out sunburnt fruit they also throw out healthy profits. By using existing technologies growers can increase their profits.

AgNova Technologies conducted commercial economic viability of better managing sunburn with Surround WP under commercial conditions fruit harvested from rows of trees spayed with Surround WP was compared to fruit harvested from unsprayed trees.

The economic analysis compared various tree shapes and sizes, which helped validate the trends.

A visual assessment of the fruit was undertaken at commercial harvest and the apples were assessed according to the presence of sunburn
and the percentage area of sunburn on the fruit: according to the following rating system.

  • 0 = no sunburn
  • 1 = slight yellowing on exposed side (<5% fruit area)
  • 2 = noticeable yellowing on exposed side (>5% fruit area)
  • 3 = moderate sunburn with pronounced lenticels (some fruit unmarketable)
  • 4 = significant sunburn – fruit unmarketable
In conducting his economic analysis, AgNova made a number of assumptions:

  • Application of Surround WP occurred on the basis of Tree Row Volume.
  • Fruit with sunburn rating 0 & 1 were of fresh market quality, domestic or export.
  • Apples of sunburn rating 2 to 4 were rejected from any markets.
  • Apples were packed in 12 kg cartons.
  • Any fruit value for juicing has not
  • been included in the economic analysis.
Results

The Agnova Surround WP provided a significant increase in the quantity of marketable apples for each grower; 19.9% (Rullo), 23.4% (Ahmets), 16.2% (Pottengers), 12.9% (Maselki), 11.7% (Morey) and 16.5% (Scali).

Surround WP delivered a positive return on investment in all trial sites and varieties tested, and  the financial benefit to the grower was immense.

The net benefit to growers may not stop there, with additional savings in packing, handling and storage.

Extra sunburnt fruit removal from the nil treatment meant more people had to be employed on the grading line. For every 100 untreated apples that go past these workers, 18 apples on average would need to be removed.

For the Surround WP treated crop, only 6 apples on average would need to be removed and this offered a significant labour saving, with less people needed to sort fruit.

And there were also savings on handling, dipping and cool storage.

For the unprotected apples, with every 100 bins dipped and cool stored, a total of 18 bins could ultimately be graded out because of sunburn ratings of between 2 and 4. Whilst the Surround WP treatment would contain a total of only 6 bins containing the equivalent poor quality fruit.

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