New AgTech tool supports apple fruit thinning decisions

Timing is everything when it comes to the application of fruit thinners.

To achieve the target level of fruit thinning, advisors and growers have quite a bit to work through. Variables such as flowering, pollination, fruit set, cultivar and rootstock must all be taken into consideration. Weather conditions are another important factor to be considered.

A new decision support tool from ADAMA, developed to predict a recommended window for applying the new fruit thinning agent Brevis®, has completed its first season of commercial testing with growers and advisors providing positive feedback on the tool.

BreviSmart® was developed in 2013 following a collaboration between ADAMA and leading pome fruit institutes in Europe, to develop a digital solution to support pome fruit advisors optimise the efficacy of Brevis. Advisors can operate the new web-based tool on their computer, tablet or smartphones.

ADAMA Australia launched Brevis to the Australian market in 2019. Brevis contains the unique active ingredient, metamitron, a non-hormonal agent that inhibits photosynthesis to induce fruit thinning. Compared to alternative fruit thinners available on the market, Brevis can be applied across a wider growth interval (8–16 mm central fruitlet diameter), a wider temperature range (10–25°C) and as one or two applications to a maximum of 2.2 kg/ha per season.

ADAMA Australia Brevis product manager, Stuart Moncrieff said: “following the successful launch of Brevis in 2019, it’s exciting to continue working with the apple industry to test and work towards a release of the BreviSmart model in Australia.

“BreviSmart has undergone a number of years of testing in Australia and New Zealand and 2019 was the first time the tool was tested in a commercial environment with apple advisors,”

BreviSmart is powered by an algorithm developed specifically to provide apple advisors with a tool to support their decision of when best to apply Brevis.

ADAMA Australia AgTech and Innovation Manager, Andrew Newall said: “The algorithm takes into account important factors such as location, variety and fruitlet size along with weather which influence Brevis’ efficacy.

“The model also assists advisors and growers in avoiding an application of Brevis in weather conditions that may lead to under or over-thinning,” Andrew said.

“After advisors enter the coordinates of the block to be treated along with a few variables agreed with the grower, the model calculates the predicted efficacy for the following days. Local weather data is collected from the days before calculation and combined with the forecasted data for the recorded location. The outcome is a recommendation of the best window to apply Brevis.

“The model provides a guide for advisors, however local experience and historical knowledge of the orchard is an essential component of applying Brevis successfully.”

ADAMA will field test the BreviSmart model again this season and continue working with advisors who wish to ensure maximum efficacy from their Brevis application.

For further information contact your local ADAMA representative.