Precision Fruit Tree Dosing to Optimise Yield and Quality

Lead Participant: H.L. Hutchinson Limited

Abstract

"There is substantive tree-to-tree variability in tree structure (size, density) and crop load and quality in tree fruit orchards which are the major causes of less than optimal, often poor, overall yield and quality. Previous work in Innovate UK project 101405 showed that tree-to-tree variability in yield ranged from 2-3 fold in the six most productive and uniform apple orchards in the UK, with much greater variability in poorer orchards. Larger scale within-orchard variability and inter-annual bienniality also contribute to poor performance.

In this project, we shall develop precision dosing orchard foliar spraying system to improve the uniformity of orchards and greatly increase their economic performance, using apple as an exemplar. Current practice is to spray whole orchards at the same dose regardless of tree structure or crop load. The equipment will apply precision doses according to need to optimise performance. The performance of poorer performing trees will be increased towards that of the best and the tendency for out of sync tree-to-tree biennial bearing minimised.

IP will be protected and the system sold internationally, creating a new substantive UK business contributing to the UK economy. The technology will have application for the wide range of spray applications to tree fruits for crop protection and crop management worldwide. The precision orchard mapping technologies will have additional wide application for other methods of crop management and Agri Decision Support Systems (AgriDSS) worldwide. This new technology will have substantive impacts on the UK apple industry making a step change in productivity and competitiveness and allowing the UK industry to increase production.

Keywords: Precision orchard spraying, tree fruit production, apple production, crop scanning and mapping, Decision Support System"

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

H.L. Hutchinson Limited, WISBECH £52,539 £ 26,270
 

Participant

The Acclaimed Software Company Ltd, Norwich £179,558 £ 125,691
Outfield Technologies Ltd, Cambridge £134,692 £ 94,284
Np Seymour Limited, Cranbrook £104,640 £ 73,248
Plumford Farms Limited, Faversham £38,938 £ 27,257
Worldwide Fruit Limited, SPALDING £12,538 £ 6,269
Niab. £222,562 £ 222,562

Publications

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