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  • Writer's pictureTayah Ryan

Extracting value from on-orchard research trials

Red19 kiwifruit hand pollinated by Russell pollen
Putting some structure and focus around on-orchard trials bound to yield the best outcomes - like this R19 pollination trial I recently designed for a client

It’s always great to see growers and organisations trying new things. Whether it be a new agchem product, attempting to solve pest/disease issues or thinking ahead for sustainable change – progress at some point requires you to "give things a go". through trials and research. This season I’ve been fortunate to be involved in a wide range of client research projects, including exploring alternative budbreakers, hydrogen cyanamide optimisation and working through the best fruit sizing program in Gold3 and Red19. The findings from those projects will help to drive decision making for them for next season.

As with any multi-season projects, I always have three overarching objectives in mind:

1. Excitement and interest

2. Continual improvement

3. Repeatability

In order to achieve those objectives, part of my job is to ensure the right people do the right things at the right time and we capture whatever data we need to evaluate the result. Trials don’t need to be super complicated – in fact I often encourage my clients to keep things as simple as possible. That way it is more likely to be executed well and followed through to the end.

What I’ve observed over the years is that the enthusiasm for setting a trial up is often high – the challenge always comes in the follow through. People get busy, other more important issues come up and trials get forgotten about. It begs the question - what are we missing out on by not making this a focus?

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