We describe the yield and quality of apples from a 0.8 ha apple orchard located in northern Greece over two growing seasons and consider the potential for site-specific management. The orchard has two apple cultivars: Red Chief (main cultivar) and Fuji (pollinator). Yield was measured by weighing all fruit harvested from groups of five adjacent trees and the position of the central tree was recorded by GPS. Apple quality at harvest was evaluated from samples of the two cultivars in both years for which fruit mass, flesh firmness, soluble solids content, juice pH and acidity of the juice were determined. The variation in tree flowering was also measured in the spring of the second season using a stereological sampling procedure. The results showed considerable variability in the number of tree flowers, yield and quality across the orchard for both cultivars. The number of flowers was strongly correlated with the final yield. These data could potentially be used to plan precise thinning and for early prediction of yield; the latter is important for marketing the fruit. Several quality characteristics, including fruit juice soluble solids content and acid content were negatively correlated with yield. The general patterns of spatial variation in several variables suggested that changes in topography and aspect had important effects on apple yield and quality.
Precision Agriculture – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 15, 2009
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