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New crop handling, production and conservation technologies for a high quality cherry and pear orchard

The development of new handling methods for agricultural production to prolong the postharvest life of the fruit. The application of new technologies will be crucial in order to achieve the highest quality fruit.

The main objective of the project is focused on prolonging the post-harvest life of fruits by improving the production processes with new technical methods of production through all the different stages of the crop growth. The initial activity will be to determine technical needs and users, as well as select the new and more efficient varieties. With this information, it will be able to design the production process of the crops for the posterior development in the orchards. The general stages are: - Cultivation and harvesting. - Production. - Storage and conservation. - Distribution and commercialisation In the cultivation and harvesting stage, the main investments will be to plant the trees and to install the hail net structure in order to improve the quality of fruit and the new irrigation system in order to control the needs of water. All these issues are crucial to ensuring a real improvement in the final quality of the fruit. The design of the most optimum production processes in the orchard will be achieved by using new plantation frameworks, new automatic fertirrigation systems, and new intensive methods to handle the crops in order to have the most efficient production. In pear production it will install a new hail net structure with a black net to improve the external quality of the fruit by increasing the health and freshness, organoleptics and sensorial characteristics in the fruit, as well as the external appearance, and by decreasing the impact of pests in the crops, the depression of the tree due to the sun, as well as the bruising due to the wind. The study of the viability of installing a rain net system for early cherries to avoid cracking while handling the crop, the use of new biological products to put the trees into production earlier by inducting the growth of the branches, and the use of a central axe formation system to intensify the production will improve the efficiency and the quality of the crops. The new technology in the fertirrigation system with special drills will allow orchards to constantly test the needs of the most important parameters of the crops such as water, fertiliser and soil, in order to improve the efficiency of them. All these processes developed for handling the crops will be controlled via GPS (Global Positioning System), through a new control data system that will link the orchard to a central computer to manage all the data, in order to have a more accurate, concise and reliable traceability system. These innovative technologies will help us to cultivate more homogenous fruit with a higher quality, and will enable the prolongation of the post-harvest life. All these characteristics will allow companies to meet customer needs and open new markets. Throughout the project, it will study the improvements achieved based on its ecological principles and on the data control of the main parameters through its traceability system. In the production, conservation and storage stages, the main innovations will be focused on improvements of the processes through new tracking and automatic control systems, such as production efficiency and timing for providing better quality. Keywords: quality fruit, postharvest life, improvement process.
Acronym: 
CPK-ORC
Project ID: 
4 036
Start date: 
01-01-2007
Project Duration: 
42months
Project costs: 
1 780 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Plant selection/production technology
Market Area: 
Viticulture and Fruit Tree Cultivation

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.