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Alstonville, Australia

Olesen T.,Center for Tropical Horticulture | Olesen T.,Rural University
New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science | Year: 2011

Temperature records (1963-2009) from Alstonville, northern NewSouth Wales, Australia, were examined for long-term trends using two methods: Annual smoothing using a sine curve; and temperature-based phenological models applied to different parts of the year. Both methods indicated strong seasonality in warming, with winters increasing by 1.5 °C over the period, but summers largely unchanged. Estimates of spring custard apple flower development time decreased by c. 13 days (20%) from 1963/64-2008/09; estimates of autumn litchi flush development decreased by c. 8 days (7%); estimates of winter macadamia flush development decreased by c. 17 days (12%) but summer flush development was not affected; and estimates of mango fruit development decreased by c. 12-16 days (7-8%) depending on variety. © 2011 The Royal Society of New Zealand.

Headley T.R.,Southern Cross University of Australia | Headley T.R.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Headley T.R.,BAUER Nimr LLC | Davison L.,Southern Cross University of Australia | And 2 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2012

The balance between evapotranspiration (ET) loss and rainfall ingress in treatment wetlands (TWs) can affect their suitability for certain applications. The aim of this paper was to investigate the water balance and seasonal dynamics in ET of subsurface horizontal flow (HF) TWs in a sub-tropical climate. Monthly water balances were compiled for four pilot-scale HF TWs receiving horticultural runoff over a two year period (Sep. 1999-Aug. 2001) on the sub-tropical east-coast of Australia. The mean annual wetland ET rate increased from 7.0 mm/day in the first year to 10.6 mm/day in the second, in response to the development of the reed (Phragmites australis) population. Consequently, the annual crop coefficients (ratio of wetland ET to pan evaporation) increased from 1.9 in the first year to 2.6 in the second. The mean monthly ET rates were generally greater and more variable than the Class-A pan evaporation rates, indicating that transpiration is an important contributor to ET in HF TWs. Evapotranspiration rates were generally highest in the summer and autumn months, and corresponded with the times of peak standing biomass of P. australis. It is likely that ET from the relatively small 1 m wide by 4 m long HF TWs was enhanced by advection through so-called " clothesline" and " oasis" effects, which contributed to the high crop coefficients. For the second year, when the reed population was well established, the annual net loss to the atmosphere (taking into account rainfall inputs) accounted for 6.1-9.6 % of the influent hydraulic load, which is considered negligible. However, the net loss is likely to be higher in arid regions with lower rainfall. The Water Use Efficiency (WUE) of the wetlands in the second year of operation was 1.3 g of above-ground biomass produced per kilogram of water consumed, which is low compared to agricultural crops. It is proposed that system level WUE provides a useful metric for selecting wetland plant species and TW design alternatives to use in arid regions where excessive water loss from constructed wetlands can be problematic. Further research is needed to accrue long-term HF TW water balance data especially in arid climatic zones. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Mitchell A.,Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute | Maddox C.,Center for Tropical Horticulture
Australian Journal of Entomology | Year: 2010

Bark beetles are emerging as pests of macadamias, both in the native range of macadamias in Australia and worldwide wherever macadamias are cultivated. Multiple species have been detected on macadamias in Australia; however, little has been known about the identity of the species involved, other than that some belong to the genera Hypothenemus Westwood (1836) and Cryphalus Erichson (1836). Hypothenemus is a large and cosmopolitan genus, which contains two exotic species that are regulated pests for Australia: the tropical nut borer, Hypothenemus obscurus (Fabricius), is a pest of macadamias and Brazil nuts in the Americas and the Pacific, and the coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari), is a pest of coffee found in coffee-growing areas worldwide, but not in Australia. It is essential that biosecurity authorities have reliable species diagnostic tools available in order to detect incursions of these species in Australia. However, the taxonomic literature on the relevant species is scattered and sparse, and the lack of molecular diagnostic methods means that identification of eggs and larvae has been impossible to date because the immature life stages are morphologically homogeneous. This study fills some crucial gaps in our ability to identify these species, developing diagnostic methods for the major pest species on macadamia in Australia, and for key exotic species, including both regulated pests. An integrative taxonomic approach was used incorporating both traditional morphological taxonomy and DNA barcode data in an iterative process to both identify beetles and develop robust diagnostics for them. DNA barcodes provide unambiguous discrimination of all species examined in this study, albeit a limited sample, and have the advantage that they can be used to identify all life stages of the species. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 Australian Entomological Society.

McFadyen L.M.,Center for Tropical Horticulture | Robertson D.,Center for Tropical Horticulture | Sedgley M.,University of New England of Australia | Kristiansen P.,University of New England of Australia | Olesen T.,Center for Tropical Horticulture
Annals of Botany | Year: 2011

Background and Aims There is good evidence for deciduous trees that competition for carbohydrates from shoot growth accentuates early fruit abscission and reduces yield but the effect for evergreen trees is not well defined. Here, whole-tree tip-pruning at anthesis is used to examine the effect of post-pruning shoot development on fruit abscission in the evergreen subtropical tree macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia, M. integrifolia × tetraphylla). Partial-tree tip-pruning is also used to test the localization of the effect. Methods In the first experiment (2005/2006), all branches on trees were tip-pruned at anthesis, some trees were allowed to re-shoot (R treatment) and shoots were removed from others (NR treatment). Fruit set and stem total non-structural carbohydrates (TNSC) over time, and yield were measured. In the second experiment (2006/2007), upper branches of trees were tip-pruned at anthesis, some trees were allowed to re-shoot (R) and shoots were removed from others (NR). Fruit set and yield were measured separately for upper (pruned) and lower (unpruned) branches. Key Results In the first experiment, R trees set far fewer fruit and had lower yield than NR trees. TNSC fell and rose in all treatments but the decline in R trees occurred earlier than in NR trees and coincided with early shoot growth and the increase in fruit abscission relative to the other treatments. In the second experiment, fruit abscission on upper branches of R trees increased relative to the other treatments but there was little difference in fruit abscission between treatments on lower branches. Conclusions This study is the first to demonstrate an increase in fruit abscission in an evergreen tree in response to pruning. The effect appeared to be related to competition for carbohydrates between post-pruning shoot growth and fruit development and was local, with shoot growth on pruned branches having no effect on fruit abscission on unpruned branches. © 2011 The Author.

Olesen T.,Center for Tropical Horticulture | Huett D.,Center for Tropical Horticulture | Smith G.,Center for Tropical Horticulture
Functional Plant Biology | Year: 2011

For Macadamia integrifolia Maiden and Betche var. 849, we compared four limb removal strategies of varying style and severity over 4 years, in terms of effects on yield, on the distribution of light, and new vegetative shoots, racemes and fruit within the canopy. Limb removal reduced yields. The reduction corresponded with the severity of pruning, not with the style of pruning. Limb removal had little impact in the medium term on light penetration to the orchard floor. Within the canopy, shoot production and raceme production were inversely related. Shoot production was favoured by high light conditions; raceme production occurred predominantly in areas of heavy shade, with 49% of racemes produced at canopy locations receiving less than 2% full daylight, and 94% produced at locations receiving less than 16% full daylight. Most flowering appeared to occur on wood more than 3 years old. The capacity of different parts of the canopy to support fruit set and retention increased with proximity to the more irradiated parts of the canopy, but fruit production was still high deep within the lower part of the canopy, with 50% of fruit produced at canopy locations receiving less than 2% full daylight, and 90% produced at locations receiving less than 16% full daylight. © 2011 CSIRO.

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