When Australian Summerfruit (peach, nectarine, plum, and apricot) arrive in the valuable Chinese export market, they must meet strict quality conditions or risk being downgraded, sold for a lower price, or rejected. Long-term, this has a significant impact on repeat purchase, price, and the reputation of Australian Summerfruit.
To meet market preferences, Australian Summerfruit growers must be able to predict whether the fruit they produce will satisfy consumer preference for size, taste, colour and texture; meet export market access protocols for air and sea freight to China; and be able to survive short periods of sub-optimal storage.
This will require technology that can track and predict harvest timing, fruit quality attributes (sweetness, firmness, size, colour, grade and internal disorders) and yield.
State of the art sensing meets premium exports in this collaborative research project to help the Australian Summerfruit industry meet the demands of the valuable Chinese market.
The project team will trial three main sensors, the Rubens™ fluorescence spectrometer, the Green Atlas Cartographer and a RMIT University’s Bistatic LiDAR. Once they have been calibrated and validated at Agriculture Victoria’s Tatura SmartFarm in the Goulburn Valley, the sensors will be road-testing in commercial orchards and packhouses across major growing regions in Victoria and interstate.
The team will trial whether these sensors are capable of cost-effectively:
Identifying applicable sensors will enable the future development of predictive models for growers and packhouses to make earlier and smarter business decisions around harvest quality, timing, labour, market destination and promotion.