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Fruit production - extra benefits to netting

There are  extra benefits to netting fruit production areas.

A Western Australian horticulture research project has found growers can make water savings of more than 40 percent, by netting orchards.

The Department of Agriculture and Food of WA (DAFWA) trial is measuring the effects of black netting and white netting against an un-netted control group on a Manjimup apple orchard.

Department development officer Rowan Prince said the second year of the project has produced some exciting results.

"We've applied about 45 to 46 per cent less water under the netted area in the drip irrigation than we have outside the net."

The DAFWA netting project is part of ongoing research into the effects of heat on fruit.

The trial is based on climate change adaptation practices.

Mr Prince said the netting research is ongoing, and so far it showed that the covered orchards had reduced vigour, which cut down on pruning, as well as the water savings.

He said the netted orchards had smaller fruit, but the size differed only by about one per cent.

"This season we're really, really keen to see the fruit quality and fruit yield that comes off from the reduction in water," he said.

"So far we're seeing lower sunburn and we definitely haven't got the bird damage."

Mr Prince said netting required up front capital, but he said the research showed the investment was worth it for the long-term cost saving.

Source;  ABC WA Country Hour 

For more information please contact Karen OMalley (Senior Land Services - Horticulture) on 02 6333 2324 or