The International Horticultural Congress 2014 Report


The once every 4 year event where researchers come to present the latest and most exciting projects they have been working on. From mushrooms to ornamentals, tropical fruits, vegetables and deciduous fruit trees, the congress had on average nearly 20 symposiums going simultaneously. Fruit Growers Victoria IDO, Virginie Grégoire, spent the week running from one room to the other to attend the most interesting talks on:

  • Physiology of Perennial Fruit Crops & Production;
  • Innovative Plant Protection in Horticulture;
  • Post-Harvest Knowledge for the Future;
  • Abscission Process in Horticulture;
  • Biosecurity, Quarantine Pests & Market Access; and
  • Mechanisation, Precision Horticulture & Robotics.

A few points she took back with her to Victoria which will no doubt be part of future conversation with growers are:

  • Catering for different export markets which sometimes asks for residue free products and other times for pest free products is possible. However, that means we need to understand better the dynamics of using beneficial insects and narrow spectrum insecticides. Although IPDM has been around for a good 3 decades, if not longer, it remains a major challenge across the industry as technologies are constantly evolving. Researchers are always working on more efficient control methods including the use of bio-chemicals naturally produced to detect pest populations.
  • Climate change will affect Victorian fruit growers differently depending on the region. Some may need more frost for some and less chilling portions for others. Heat prior to bud break can compensate for reduced amount of chill . Be informed and ready!
  • Climate change does not necessarily translate to a longer flowering period, dry summer, retarded autumn leaf drop or reduced chance of frost.
  • Precision, precision, precision! There is currently, without any doubt, a focus on being precise in our fruit growing management practices. This starts with choosing the right system followed by precision pruning and precision thinning. You want to know how much your blocks can and are producing and you want this tonnage to be consistent year after year.
  • Tools for precision thinning? Some are yet to become available to Australian growers and include a carbohydrate model (stress level of the trees related to environmental conditions) to dose you thinning agent and intensive fruit measuring after thinner application.

These are a very limited selection of key points discussed at the IHC, lookout for a more detailed report to industry to come in the coming weeks! Feel free to contact your Industry Development Officer should you have any burning question. Virginie : 0400 795 539 : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.