Science Into Practice - Thinning strategies

Hand thinning has consistently been the most reliable way to thin flowers or fruits in orchards. But to save costs, tree-fruit growers are in desperate need of reliable alternatives.

HDC project TF 215, which was led by Harriet Roberts of ADAS, reviewed alternative methods used around the world.

UK growers face similar challenges to those overseas although we have been more wary about using mechanical thinners, given that just 16 Darwin machines have been sold in the UK.

Trials throughout the world show very promising results and as we improve their use and investigate more about their long-term effects, such machines are likely to prove to be cost-effective options for our cooler climate.

In terms of chemicals, gaining approval for metamitron in the UK is an exciting prospect because it appears to be a less temperature-dependent fruitlet thinner than alternatives whose efficacy can be adversely affected by low temperatures following application.

When compared with hand thinning and no thinning, both mechanical and chemical thinning strategies can demonstrate both positive and negative effects on fruit quality. Improved fruit firmness and sugar content were identified in some papers from mechanically and chemically thinned fruit, suggesting that the method of thinning could influence storage potential.

Further work is required to clarify this and assess the effect of different thinning techniques on trees' long-term health.

The full grower summary for project TF 215 can be found on the HDC website at www.hdc.org.uk.

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activity, visit www.hdc.org.uk


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

What is being done to develop biocontrols against orchard pests?

What is being done to develop biocontrols against orchard pests?

The SIVAL horticultural trade show in Angers, France, this week (16-18 January) heard about several initiatives to promote more environmentally sustainable orchard growing.

What does the 25-year plan mean for growers?

What does the 25-year plan mean for growers?

Published on 11 January, the Government's long-awaited 'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment' brings together a number of policy strands into a single framework that will impact many sectors, not least fresh produce, over the coming decades.

What will 'embracing change' mean for horticulture?

What will 'embracing change' mean for horticulture?

At the Oxford Farming Conference, whose theme was "embracing change", Defra secretary Michael Gove expanded on what a post-Brexit UK agriculture and land-use policy will look like and how it will impact farmers and growers.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon