10 September 2013

9:15am - 9:55am:

Nadia Lim

An avocado a day

Nadia will share her enthusiasm for why we should all have an avocado a day. She will demonstrate how avocados are truly the most nutritious, delicious and versatile food, with practical tips and ideas on how to incorporate them into your diet every day, and give key health benefits of avocados for consumers.

 

9:55am - 10:35am:

Dr Russell Ballard

The avocado sector in the context of the NZ agrifood sector

The presentation examines the challenges faced by the NZ agri-food sector if it is to play its expected role in contributing to the Government's target of increasing exports from $30b to $40b by 2025. It examines a number of strategies and recommendations put forward to achieve this by the authors of "A Call to arms – a contribution to a New Zealand agri-food strategy". The presentation then benchmarks the Avocado sector's current performance and future strategy against these.

 

11:05am - 11:25am:

Jen Scoular

New Zealand avocado industry update

Avocados are the third-largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand with exports in 2012-13 of $31m and a domestic market value of $29m.

There are 1600 avocado orchards in New Zealand whose interests are represented by the industry's peak bodies; NZ Avocado Growers' Association Inc. and Avocado Industry Council Ltd.

New Zealand's avocado industry is on the cusp of expansion in terms of mitigating variable supply and expanding global and domestic markets as it leverages the demand from Asia for safe, healthy, nutritious food.

The industry has a five year plan to 2017 which aims to maximise value for all parties along the value chain and create a sustainable, profitable industry. The five year plan focuses on productivity improvement to create a consistent and sustainable supply of New Zealand avocados, implementing a disciplined and pro-active approach to market development and retention and ensuring a strong representative industry structure.

 

11:25am - 11:45am:

John Tyas

Australian avocado industry update

Avocados Australia Limited is the peak industry body for avocados in Australia. The industry has experienced significant growth for over ten years and farm gate value in 2012-13 is around $260m. The industry has a strong future with our latest consumer research showing that avocado "lovers" and "enthusiasts" would be prepared to increase their consumption and thus the demand for avocados domestically. Equally positive is our international perspective with our exports having now doubled over the last five years.

Australia has around 850 growers in Australia spread from the north east to south west of the country providing year round supply of avocados. Production is expected to continue to increase.

From 2011 to 2016 the Australian avocado industry is forecast to invest over $25 million into strategic-focussed industry research and development and promotion and we are on track to continue this investment for the Australian avocado industry.

Demand has kept pace with rising supply, supported by strong marketing campaigns and significant improvements in quality at retail level. The Australian industry has much to be proud of and a bright future ahead.

11:45am - 11:45am:

Dr Mark Dreher

Hass Avocado Board nutrition research - investing in the category's success

The Hass Avocado Board has invested millions of dollars in nutrition research to help grow the fresh category while also strengthening the science behind the benefits of fresh avocados to human health and nutrition. This session will provide an
overview HAB's strategic approach to nutrition research, a summary of the research completed and in the pipeline, including published and preliminary findings. It will also point you to HAB's nutrition resources.

12:30pm - 12:50pm:

Dr Alvaro Vidiella

NZ Avocado R & D update

Productivity of avocado orchards in New Zealand, measured as yield and its consistency, is highly variable. This variability can be found between regions, between orchards in the same region, between orchards in a small area, between areas of an orchard, and between seasons. The challenge for New Zealand Avocado R&D programme is to: 1. Define the key sources of variability 2. Understand when these sources of variability become the limiting factor of productivity 3. Develop management strategies that mitigate the effect of these limiting factors.

12:50pm - 1:10pm

Dr Jonathan Dixon

Improving avocado orchard profitability: Avocado research and outreach in California

The California avocado industry is comprised of about 20,000 to 23,000 hectares and 4,500 to 5,000 growers. The annual total production of avocados is equivalent to between 21 to 45 million, 5.5 kg trays within a total USA avocado market of about 100 million trays. The Commission is funded by a levy of about 1.75% of the price at the first point of sale. Average production and orchard incomes have risen since 2009 where average yields are between 8 to 10 tonnes per hectare from 6 to 8 tonnes per hectare at the turn of the century. The annual investment in production research is between $1 million and $1.4 million dollars from a total budget of $14 to $17 million dollars. Research is conducted under the strong direction of the Commission Board with five strategic imperatives considered to enhance the effectiveness of the research program and to help improve grower profitability. One third of the research budget is allocated to pests and diseases and one third of the budget is allocated to plant breeding. The investment in pest and disease research since 2001 has been very successful with California avocado growers saving an estimated $9,250,000 in 2011 over spending on pests in 2001. Total spending on pest and disease research was $4,000,000 between 2001 and 2011. California avocado growers face a number of challenges. The most important the high cost and low quality of irrigation water and managing new invasive pests. Other areas of research are on sustainable control of avocado thrips and mites, achieving consistent yields through a greater understanding of avocado tree physiology allowing the greater use of plant growth regulators. Of most importance has been a commitment by the Commission to conduct an active outreach program through the use of a demonstration orchard, an industry magazine, electronic communication and small grower discussion groups. Future outreach efforts will be concentrated on the development of decision support tools that will allow California avocado growers to predict potential yield using their own orchard data.

Marketing Nutrition 2:00pm - 2:20pm:

Midge Munro

NZ Avocado promotions: Connecting with avocado lovers

The NZ avocado industry is on the verge of a significant increase in supply of Hass avocado. This provides an excellent opportunity to expand our export markets; it also creates a need to ramp up the demand for avocados domestically. NZ Avocado has a strategy to maximise value for the industry through optimising the position of New Zealand avocados in priority markets. NZ Avocado implements promotional activities in Australia, Japan New Zealand and are currently conducting research in Singapore and Korea. Connecting with avocado lovers is a key strategy as this group of consumers contribute a high proportion of the category value, are more likely to increase their consumption and they are ambassadors for the product. A successful PR campaign has been running in New Zealand market for the past two seasons with great results illustrated by a record value of $28.7M. There are exciting new promotional activities underway that will increase the visibility of New Zealand avocados like never before.

 

Healthy Orchard 2:00pm - 2:20pm

Simon Newett

Australian irregular bearing survey in Australia

Awaiting abstract.

 

Strong Industry 2:00pm - 2:20pm

Ian Proudfoot

New Zealand's place in the global agri-food system - what could the future look like?

Land and water constraints provide agricultural systems around the world with an uphill battle to meet the protein demands of a
population expected to grow to 9 billion by 2050. Consequently food security has risen up government agendas and attracted a wide range of policy responses. At the same time, we are also experiencing the largest migration into urban areas the world has ever seen and an unprecedented growth in the number of middle class consumers with greater discretion around how they spend their money and the products they choose to eat and drink.

Growing middle classes around the world are creating new demand and greater focus is being placed on foods with proven health benefits.

Developed markets want more sustainably produced products but are not necessarily prepared to pay for them. The challenge from developing markets is more fundamental, how can prime agricultural land and fresh water continue to be diverted from meeting the basic protein needs of the global population into discretionary foods, biofuels and stock feed.

It is against this global perspective that New Zealand primary producers need to identify their niche in the global Agri-food system to maximise the value they can create.

 

Marketing Nutrition 2:20pm - 2:40pm

Duncan Sinclair

Australian consumer insights and marketing strategy

Awaiting abstract.

 

Healthy orchard 2:20pm - 2:40pm

Dr Grant Thorp

Irregular bearing in New Zealand

Awaiting abstract.

 

Strong Industry 2:20pm - 2:40pm

Peter Thomson

MPI's role in opening and maintaining market access for export of New Zealand avocados

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) works in concert with industry and government agencies to open and maintain market access for NZ primary sector exports to the world.  Negotiations for new market access are conducted by MPI and are underpinned by healthy government to government relationships, sound science and the application of WTO SPS principles and international standards. New Zealand enjoys preferential access to many markets as a result of our relative freedom from pests and diseases of concern and the integrity of our export assurance and certification systems. MPI and industry need to work together to identify and prioritise new market access and to ensure the integrity of our certification systems is maintained.  This presentation will identify the critical aspects of MPI’s systems that industry should understand, and the equally critical industry activities that make a difference to whether or not market access is gained and retained.

 

Marketing Nutrition 2:50pm - 3:10pm 

Brett Hewlett

Comvita case study: competetive successful marketing and export of health positioned products 

Awaiting abstract.

 

Strong industry 2:50pm - 3:10pm

Simon Hegarty

The challenge of market access - How can global supplying countires work to attain and maintain access to asian markets?

Awaiting abstract.

 

Marketing Nutrition 3:10pm - 3:50pm

Lisa Yates

Australian avocado HAL nutrition programme

In 2012-13 the Australian Avocado industry decided to utilise the nutrient and health benefits of avocado as part of its marketing strategy and requested the assistance of a marketing specialist and dietitian to develop a program aimed at educating health professionals on the health benefits of avocado. Activities included: developing a literature review report to substantiate nutrient claims in a serve of avocado specifically around folate, food regulation and public health watching brief, developing a health professional section of the www.avocados.org.au website to house avocado nutrition and health research abstracts, weekly blogs for consumers and health professionals on a variety of relevant and timely nutrition and health topics, trade exhibitions at dietitians and doctors conferences to promote “Refer a Dad” – a men’s health program aimed at getting men to have a check up especially for heart health, education webinars for fitness professionals and sports dietitians, sponsorship of General Practice Registrars Australia – training doctors in general practice, and assisting Australian Avocados’ other marketing agencies (PR, digital, media) with nutrition information for PR and advertising activities and social media. One major outcome includes avocados mentioned in Guideline 3 of the Australian Dietary Guidelines, released in February 2013, as a way to lower saturated fat intake. This presentation will outline these activities as well as cover the nutrient benefits of Australian avocado.

 

Strong Industry 3:10pm - 3:50pm

Mike Chapman

A new era for biosecurity - let's not make the errors of the past.

Awaiting abstract.

 

11 September 2013

9:00am - 9:40am:

Lisa Cork

Selling nutrition through branding and packaging: ideas and insights

Packaging matters.

It is as simple as that.

It is a sales tool, a communication tool and an education tool; even if it is only a small sticker on a piece of fruit.

Currently, avocados are one of the most nutritionally exciting fruits in the fresh produce category. However, growers and packers are missing significant opportunity to educate and inspire shoppers to buy simply because no compelling information is being communicated on fruit or on-pack. In a supermarket full of competitive products, this lack of communication is
costing you sales...and dollars.

In this presentation, you will find out why your on-pack/on-fruit message is an important communication tool. And, you will also
see how using food and health trends can help you find the right information to communicate to shoppers.

If you want to turn your avocado sticker or your avocado pre-pack into a sales tool, then don't miss this session.

 

9:40am - 10:00am:

Zelda van Rooyen

Rootstock and cultivar screening and commercialisation at Westfalia Technological Services, South Africa

The first clonal rootstocks were imported into South Africa in the late 1970’s after the avocado industry was almost crippled due to the presence of Phytophthora cinnamomi root rot (PRR) in the soils of most of the main production areas. The advantage of clonal rootstocks, such as Duke 7, soon inspired researchers at Westfalia Fruit Estates to start their own screening and selection process and today Westfalia is one of the few “institutions” worldwide involved in long term rootstock breeding, screening and evaluation. Many of these rootstocks, such as Dusa™ are today tested all over the world due to the collaboration of various groups which allows for these rootstocks to be tested for factors other than PRR. Similarly, international agreements allow Westfalia to test new fruiting scions which help South Africa to either extend their export/production season. As a country South Africa is export driven and increasingly there is a need to supply “Hass-like” cultivars year round to remain a global, or at least a competitive, player in the avocado market. In the last five years Westfalia has secured the World Wide rights to produce and market Gem® (a late Hass-like cultivar from the University of California’s breeding program), and also to produce and market Carmen®-Hass (an early season Hass-like cultivar from Mexico) in Africa, the Middle-East and Brazil, as well as trade into the EU. All cultivars and rootstocks go through a rigorous testing program and this paper will outline the processes involved in ensuring the successful release of new material into the commercial domain.

 

10:00am - 10:30am:

Stephen Toplis

Asia: a growth giant

 

 

 

 

Marketing Nutrition 11:00am - 11:20am:

Natalie Milne

Marketing nutrition from a kiwifruit perspective and the importance of health to Asian consumers 

Awaiting abstract.

 

Healthy Orchard 11:00am - 11:20am:

Dr Elizabeth Dann 

Update on approaches to managing Phellinus noxious and postharvest fruit diseases in Australia  

Awaiting abstract.

 

Strong Industry 11:00am - 11:20am:

Lois Ransom

Better biosecutriy through partnerships: what the GIA offers industry  

Awaiting abstract.

 

Marketing Nutrition 11:20am - 11:40am:

Ben Bartlett

Countdown supermarkets avocado marketing programme  

Awaiting abstract.

 

Healthy Orchard 11:20am - 11:40am:

Dr Kerry Everett 

Rot prediction  

Awaiting abstract.

 

Strong Industry 11:20am - 11:40am:

Dr Andrew Geering

Biosecurity capacity building for the Australian avocado industry 

Awaiting abstract.

 

Marketing Nutrition 11:50am - 12:10pm:

Michelle Glogau

The value of organic 

Organics. If this word conjures up images of tree-hugging, sandal-wearing hippies, think again!

The international market for organic products has continued to grow steadily even during the global financial crisis, reaching almost 63 Billion US in 2011. Most recently (2011) in New Zealand it was valued at between $215 and $225m – up 25% from 2009.

As global consumers react to food scares and environmental concerns, interest in organics continues to grow and consumers are “voting” with their wallets. Organics is ‘mainstreaming’ and demand for organics covers the full spectrum from fresh produce to beauty care products.

With the demand for organic products exceeding supply, and organic products increasingly being sold through retailers, consumers are seeking assurances that they are buying an authentic organic product, particularly when they are paying a premium.

In many overseas markets, the term “organic” is defined by law. For producers wishing to market an organic product or develop an organic line extension, navigating the plethora of standards and international regulations for organic can be daunting.

This presentation has a simple charter – to take you through what defines organic, the opportunity, the process of certification, and access to domestic and international regulated markets. 

 

Strong Industry 11:50am - 12:10pm:

Jan van Niekerk

Tree decline in South Africa

Awaiting abstract.

 

Marketing Nutrition 12:10pm - 12:30pm:

Rebecca Gannaway

Social media 101: Basics for business

Awaiting abstract.

 

Strong Industry 12:10pm - 12:30pm:

Simon Newett

Best management practices and internet based infomation delivery

A three year project is underway to produce up-to-date information for Australian growers that will assist in the production of high yields of good quality fruit.

A multi-pronged approach is being used and includes production of the following resources:

  • A field guide called “The avocado problem solver field guide”
  • A website referred to as the “Best Practice Resource”
  • A set of production guidelines which growers can assess their management practices against.
  • A study of irrigation practices from which guidelines will be updated

The 220 page field guide was published and supplied to Australian growers and others in the supply chain. It illustrates and describes nearly 100 pests, diseases and other disorders of avocado in Australia, and provides advice on their prevention and treatment. It also includes information on beneficial insects and high risk exotic pests and diseases.

The Best Practice Resource website will provide growers with production information including articles, pictures, videos and crop calendars that can be updated readily when required.

Production guidelines will be designed as an easy-to-use, useful tool for growers to help identify areas in their management practices that need attention.

Irrigation has been identified as an area in orchard management that could produce significant gains in production and fruit quality if it was managed more intensely. A study of practices by growers identified as good irrigators will be used to promote improvements to other growers.

 

Marketing Nutrition 12:30pm - 12:50pm:

Duncan Sinclair

Australian avocado promotion programme

Awaiting abstract.

 

Strong Industry 12:30pm - 12:50pm:

Jeremy Burdon

Managing increasing volumes with inventory management

At present, New Zealand avocados are largely picked, packed and shipped to market with fruit only being held in New Zealand for a limited period of time. With increased volumes of fruit in the near future, the way in which product flow to market is managed may have to change.

One option may be to supply both the local and export markets out of inventory held in New Zealand stores. This option is becoming increasingly feasible through recent develoments in storage practice that give improved storage performance. Benefits may derive from being able to even out shortages and gluts of fruit and to harvest when the weather and labour supply are favourable.

To operate an inventory successfully, there are requirements for both infrastructure and storage systems applicable both on-shore and for shipping. The ability to push the limits of an inventory system will largely be dependent on the predictability at harvest of the storage performance of individual batches of fruit, from which decisions on their management in inventory can be made.

 

Marketing Nutrition 1:40pm - 2:00pm:

Andrew Keaney / Eddie Prendergast

A retailers perspective on marketing avocados in New Zealand

Awaiting abstract.

 

Healthy Orchard 1:40pm - 2:00pm:

Merran Neilson

Mechanisms of cultivar and race-based disease resistance to Phytophthora root rot in avocado

Phytophthora root rot of avocado caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi is one of the largest yield-limiting factors for avocado production. Currently, management practices rely on the use of tolerant rootstocks, clean nursery material, good cultural practices and applications of phosphorous acid.

Despite these measures, significant losses still occur after periods of heavy rain. Tolerant rootstocks are only partially resistant to the disease and respond differently to different environments and soil types. The mechanisms of resistance to Phytophthora root rot are poorly understood.

Previous studies have shown different components of resistance including root regenerative ability, differences in zoospore attraction and encystment, deposition of internal structural barriers, and constitutive or induced biochemical defence responses. The objectives of this project are to identify and quantify the different mechanisms of resistance of avocado rootstocks to the disease. Methods have been developed to quantify root regenerative ability in the absence and presence of the pathogen, and to observe differential zoospore encystment.

At present we are testing the hypothesis that root regeneration is a significant component of the resistance response of several rootstocks. Preliminary results on zoospore encystment will also be presented. Having an in depth understanding of the components of root rot resistance will enable better selection and utilisation of resistance in germplasm collections and breeding programs to reduce the impact of Phytophthora root rot in a cost effective and sustainable manner.

 

Strong Industry 1:40pm - 2:00pm:

Neena Mitter

RNA silencing based PRR resistant avocado rootstocks for improved production of GM free fruit 

Phytophthora root rot (PRR) is the most serious and important disease of avocado worldwide. The causal agent, Phytophthora cinnamomi, has over 1,000 hosts and is a primary constraint on avocado productivity. We are employing the innovative strategy of RNA silencing to engineer avocado rootstocks for resistance to Phytophthora root rot without any modification in the scion.

Constructs targeting essential genes in P. cinnamomi have been designed, engineered and tested for their efficiency to arrest the growth of P. cinnamomi in culture media, as well as in model plant (Arabidopsis) carrying these constructs. These transgenic plants showed resistance to PRR when grown in soil heavily infested with P. cinnamomi. The gene silencing constructs have been successfully introduced in the cv. 'Reed' which is one of the commonly used avocado rootstock. Multiplication and resistance screening of these transformed plants is in progress.

 

Marketing Nutrition 2:00pm - 2:20pm:

Bevan Jelley 

Maximising value in the New Zealand market 

Awaiting abstract.

 

Healthy orchard 2:00pm - 2:20pm:

Dr Elizabeth Dann 

Effect of rootstock on avocado tree health and fruit yield when grown under high Phytophthora root rot pressure 

Awaiting abstract.

 

Strong Industry 2:00pm - 2:20pm:

Dr Allan Woolf 

High pressure avocado water-washing (or waterblasting) for improved market access 

Pests on avocados result in quarantine and cosmetic problems for exported fruit, and key quarantine pests are leafroller egg rafts and larvae. To counter this problem, New Zealand has developed novel waterblasting treatments that involve short duration treatments at high pressures (800-1000 psi) for 1-3 seconds.

These treatments were effective in removing brownheaded leafroller (Ctenopseustis obliquana) and greenheaded leafroller (Planotortrix octo) egg rafts to rates of over 98%. Removal of a wide range of other insects was also achieved, including thrips and leafroller larvae, although scale are generally removed only if they are dead. Other contaminants removed included Pinus radiata pollen (which accumulates at the base of the fruit), bird guano, dust/dirt and spray residues.

The high level of fruit cleaning generally leads to reduced pest interceptions, improved packout, less labour during packing and improved fruit appearance in the market. The original waterblaster system used a system of three nozzles (one top and two side nozzles) treating fruit for ≈ 1 second, while a new development has been a rotary-type system with four nozzles rotating at very high speed. We have carried out a review of these two systems in a commercial setting and will highlight key factors that affect throughput and efficacy.

 

Marketing Nutrition 2:20pm - 2:40pm:

Bronwen Anderson 

United Fresh: promoting the importance of increased fruit and vegetable consumption 

United Fresh is the only national pan-industry fresh produce organisation. Focused on growing the fresh produce industry it has, since its inception in 1991, lead the way in promoting the importance of increased fruit and vegetable consumption for better health and well-being. Working both nationally and internationally it has a high level of acceptance across all sectors including government, health professionals, media and the public.

Its flagship programme, 5+ A Day operating in early childhood centres, primary and intermediate schools has a high level of awareness and is an excellent means of introducing young New Zealanders to a wide range of fruit and vegetables. As a major supporter of the avocado industry United Fresh has undertaken a number of promotional initiatives within New Zealand to increase the profile of avocado and its nutrient value.

 

Healthy Orchard 2:20pm - 2:40pm:

Peter Minchen  

Phloem transport of boron within avocado trees 

 A continuous supply of boron is vital for the formation of all new cells during plant growth and development, and reproductive growth is particularly sensitive to any deficiency in boron supply. In many plant species boron is not phloem mobile, as the mineral form of boron quickly leaks from the phloem into surrounding tissues. Hence distribution throughout the plant depends completely upon continuous xylem supply. Some plants have polyols (e.g. sorbitol, mannitol) as a component of their phloem sap, which forms a complex with boron ions, rendering it phloem mobile.

This has been well documented in many tree crops, such as apple and almond. Our hypothesis is that the presence of perseitol (a polyol) in the phloem sap of avocado results in boron being phloem mobile. While this has been previously suggested in the avocado literature, it has never been previously demonstrated. We have demonstrated that boron forms a complex with perseitol, and that boron moves from mature to immature leaves and to flowers.

This is consistent with boron being phloem mobile in avocado and confirms that mature leaves act as sources of boron to both vegetative and reproductive growth. Of considerable significance to this is that the perseitol composition of the phloem varies with ambient temperature, being low at low temperatures. Hence temperature alters the boron carrying capacity of the phloem. This potential link to boron deficiency, and inhibited reproductive growth, has not been previously raised.

 

Healthy Orchard 2:20pm - 2:40pm:

Dr Andrew Geering  

Avocado sunblotch and potato spindler tube viroid: Old foes for the Australasian industry 

 Awaiting abstract.

 

Marketing Nutrition 2:40pm - 3:00pm:

Dr Karen Bishop  

Avocado as part of a Mediterranean style diet to reduce inflammation 

It is well recognised that the intake of a healthy and low energy diet along with increased physical activity is the most effective preventative therapy to ameliorate the prevalence of many chronic diseases. The prevalence of Prostate cancer amongst New Zealand men is one of the highest in the world and diet is expected to play a role.

A pilot study was carried out amongst 30 healthy volunteers to establish whether a Mediterranean-style dietary intervention was feasible. The diet included variable plant food; whole grain cereals, monounsaturated plant oils; low intake of red meat; and a high intake of oily fish. Salmon, olive oil and avocado pears were supplied to each volunteer. The micronucleus assay was used to assess DNA damage. C-reactive protein was also measured. Both are markers of inflammation. Microarrays were used to measure the activity of thousands of genes before and after the dietary intervention.

Compliance was found to be 70%. The intake of saturated fat decreased during the study. The intake of fruit and vegetables increased. Both DNA damage and C-reactive protein levels decreased post intervention. Some genes were more active after the diet than before it. We hypothesise that there is a relationship between the activity of those genes and the change in diet. In conclusion, it is possible to perform a non-hypothesis driven dietary intervention to obtain unbiased results to identify genes involved in the development of the disease of interest. At present we are performing a similar study in men with Prostate cancer.

 

Healthy Orchard 2:40pm - 3:00pm:

Dr Alvaro Vidiella  

Cultivar evaluation in New Zealand  

Awaiting abstract. 

 

Strong Industry 2:40pm - 3:00pm:

Terry Campbell  

Development of best-practice guidelines for avocado ripening  

Awaiting abstract.

 

Marketing Nutrition 3:30pm - 3:50pm:

Sara Jager  

Sensory responses to avocado  

Awaiting abstract.

 

Healthy Orchard 3:30pm - 3:50pm:

David Pattemore  

Progress in understanding avocado pollination in New Zealand   

Irregular bearing poses significant challenges for the continued growth of the avocado industry in New Zealand and elsewhere. As part of a wider programme of work aimed at understanding the underlying causes of irregular bearing, Plant & Food Research scientists have been investigating whether poor pollination contributes to low fruit set rates. This talk will present the progress in our understanding of avocado pollination over the last three years.

The increase in fruit set rates observed following hand pollination suggests that pollination may be a factor limiting fruit set in avocado. This is supported by our repeated findings of low rates of pollen deposition on stigmas, despite frequent visitation by honey bees and other insects. To assess whether pollen supply was an issue, we investigated how the flowering cycle is influenced by temperature. Low overnight temperatures delay both the timing of female flower opening in 'Hass' flowers and pollen availability in pollinizer cultivars ('Etinger' and 'Zutano').

The different responses of 'Hass' and polleniser cultivars produce patterns in the opportunities for cross-pollination that have implications for our identification of the most important pollinators for avocado. In conclusion, we have been able to characterise how flowering in avocado cultivars is affected by New Zealand's variable and often cold spring conditions, and we continue to work to identify ways to improve pollination as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing the extremes of irregular bearing.

 

Strong Industry 3:30pm - 3:50pm:

Muhammad Sohail Mazhar

Reducing flesh bruising and skin spotting in Hass avocados   

'Hass' avocado supply chains in Australia aim to supply the fruit quality demanded by consumers. However, frequent assessments of 'Hass' avocado flesh quality on the retail shelf confirms ongoing concerns with flesh quality, resulting in continued consumer dissatisfaction. Bruising is one of the main causes of this poor 'Hass' fruit quality. Fruit handling practices throughout the supply chain contribute to flesh bruising; however no holistic research has been conducted to determine the incidence of bruising at successive stages in the supply chain. Hence there is little certainty which practices are the major contributors to bruising.

The objective of our current research was to establish where and how much bruising occurs in the 'Hass' avocado fruit supply chain, from ripener to retailer display. Fruit samples (n=20) at serial sampling points from ripener arrival to the retail display of two major retailers for six retail stores each were collected and flesh bruising severity assessed. The usefulness of several decision aid tools (impact recording device and shock logger) were evaluated in the supply chain studies.

The results of two consecutive years of research established that, while bruising increases through the supply chain, most of it occurs in softening fruit at the retail store. The relative contributions of retail staff and consumers to bruising will be studied in the next phase of the research project. The results will help the avocado industry develop best practice fruit handling guidelines to help supply chain members reduce the risk of 'Hass' avocado flesh bruising.

 

Strong Industry 3:50pm - 4:10pm:

Julie Petty  

Supply chain information to improve decision making   

The Australian avocado industry has suffered from a number of quality issues and is seeking to address these problems through supply chain education and development of and communication of best recommended practices.

Research indicated that there were a number of information gaps within the supply chain on how best to handle avocados and thus improve quality. Consumer research confirmed that consumers want:

- Ripe and ready to eat fruit

- Fruit with less than 10% internal flesh defects

- Mature fruit

- Fruit meeting these standards needs to be readily available.

Following these findings projects have been undertaken to fill the information gaps and communicate this research to the target audience in the most appropriate way. This has included:

- In store retailer training.

- The development of a series of hard copy posters for each sector of the supply chain communicated best recommended practises.

- The development of an online, interactive system to house all information relating to best recommended practices. This includes training modules for staff.

- The establishment of an industry wide education and extension program. The program includes training workshops and one on one expert support for handling practices assessments and the development of action plans to address issues.

Results of the program indicate that the education materials have assisted in staff training and the improvement of handling practices. Fruit quality will continue to be monitored to help assess the program's long term success.

 

 

Strong Industry 3:50pm - 4:10pm:

Julie Petty  

Supply chain improvement through education and extension   

The Australian avocado industry has suffered from a number of quality issues and is seeking to address these problems through supply chain education and development of and communication of best recommended practices.

Research indicated that there were a number of information gaps within the supply chain on how best to handle avocados and thus improve quality. Consumer research confirmed that consumers want:

- Ripe and ready to eat fruit

- Fruit with less than 10% internal flesh defects

- Mature fruit

- Fruit meeting these standards needs to be readily available.

Following these findings projects have been undertaken to fill the information gaps and communicate this research to the target audience in the most appropriate way. This has included:

- In store retailer training.

- The development of a series of hard copy posters for each sector of the supply chain communicated best recommended practises.

- The development of an online, interactive system to house all information relating to best recommended practices. This includes training modules for staff.

- The establishment of an industry wide education and extension program. The program includes training workshops and one on one expert support for handling practices assessments and the development of action plans to address issues.

Results of the program indicate that the education materials have assisted in staff training and the improvement of handling practices. Fruit quality will continue to be monitored to help assess the program's long term success.

Sponsors & Exhibitors Speakers Programme

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