Renowned researchers talk tech at Citrus Forum
MORE than 400 industry delegates are set to gather in Adelaide next month for the 2019 Citrus Technical Forum, and Citrus Australia expects to host citrus producers from the North Burnett.
Held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on March 6 and 7, the program will cover a range of topics regarding technology improvements on farm and post-harvest, including the latest on research and development from Australia and around the world.
Citrus Australia CEO Nathan Hancock said the event would provide growers and packers with a glimpse into future technologies with practical applications and provide a platform for researchers to showcase their work.
"The format of the event will encourage growers to participate in a setting they feel comfortable in,” he said.
"It will also include displays of new equipment, products and services by commercial companies and provide a great opportunity to network.”
The citrus industry is collaborating with a post-harvest research expert from Spain in a bid to further improve quality of fruit for consumers, and potentially reduce fungicide use in packing sheds.
Lluís Palou has extensive experience in applied research and extension on post-harvest pathology of fresh fruit and vegetables.
He is based at the Postharvest Technology Centre at the Valencian Institute for Agricultural Research in Spain and will be a key note speaker in the post-harvest program of the 2019 Citrus Technical Forum.
While in Australia he will work with researchers from the NSW DPI, including research horticulturalist John Golding, who leads the Hort Innovation-funded post-harvest project.
Mr Golding said post-harvest knowledge and research in Spain was more advanced than in Australia, and that working alongside Mr Palou would provide unique insights that would benefit the industry.
Mr Palou has concentrated on alternative treatments to conventional chemical fungicides for the control of major post-harvest diseases of fresh fruits, and alternative post-harvest treatments against insects of quarantine importance.
"We're excited to see what Lluis is doing in Spain regarding less fungicide use,” Mr Golding said.
"Spain still use some chemicals post-harvest but have increased use of non-fungicide treatments. They reduce decay in fruit and also reduce chemical use.
"Lluis has done a lot of work using non-chemicals and it's knowledge which we want to learn.
"We won't be chemical-free tomorrow, but if we can manage chemicals better to reduce residues, that's a good thing.”
Mr Golding said it was an exciting time for the post-harvest sector around the world due to new developments and research, and the 2019 Citrus Tech Forum post-harvest workshops reflect this.