Professor Luca Corelli Grappadelli
inaugural veski sustainable agricultural fellow
A pear to match the taste and visual preferences of local and international consumers are needed to revitalise the declining Australian pear industry. The decline, also linked to high production costs, has resulted in over supply and price reductions and poses a significant threat to the survival of many growers, particularly in the Goulburn Valley with impacts for the regional economy, community health and wellbeing.
Using emerging sensor technologies and knowledge from the University of Bologna, Professor Luca Corelli Grappadelli will work with industry to determine if the Deliza and PIQA pear varietals are suited to Asian consumer expectations.
Research will include pre and post harvest studies on both of the pears with a focus on determining best practice for handling, storage and transportation of the pears.
New sensor technologies will be used to improve practices and monitoring in the production and handling chain to ensure maximum yield and quality.
Professor Corelli has developed a number of new and innovative technologies, algorithms and methodologies that can be used to manage and predict fruit size, yield and quality; some not tested outside University of Bologna in Italy. Professor Corelli also brings his experience from playing a major role in clarifying the patterns of carbon movement within shoots, spurs and fruit as a function of the light environment in apple and peach crops.
The research and development will use the six hectare pear field laboratory at DEDJTR in Tatura that has long-term experiments in place to test the response of new varieties to a range of practices. The re-vamped experimental orchard will provide a valuable resource for this project to research the application of sensor technologies and the right conditions for handling, storage and transportation of these pears.
An advisory team will provide advice, direction and feedback for the project research activities with industry leaders, researchers and government working alongside the veski sustainable agricultural fellow.