Orchard walk’s focus on pears

By Rodney Woods

More than 40 orchardists and industry representatives listened to three guest speakers at an orchard walk at Tatura on June 1.

At Agriculture Victoria’s trial site on Ferguson Rd, horticulture adviser Marcel Veens, Washington State University’s Professor Stefana Musacchi and Agriculture Victoria’s Ian Goodwin discussed pear growing and maintenance techniques.

‘‘Marcel Veens talked about post-harvest rots in pears and how to best prevent those rots, Stefana Musacchi spoke about pruning for quality in pears and Ian Goodwin presented on trials they are doing with Red Blush pears,’’ Fruit Growers Victoria growers services manager Michael Crisera said.

He said the ‘‘pear masterclass’’ was part of Apple and Pear Australia’s Future Orchards Program.

‘‘Most Future Orchards walks are done on apples,’’ Mr Crisera said.

‘‘Ninety per cent of pears are grown in Shepparton, so there is a key focus on pears once a year.’’

According to Mr Crisera, the highlight of the walk was hearing from Prof Musacchi.

‘‘To have someone like Stefana Musacchi here was a huge opportunity for growers to learn from one of the best in the world,’’ he said.

The next orchard walk will be held on Friday at 9am at Sciacca Orchards in Merrigum.

This session will cover both apples and pears, with a focus on pruning for quality.