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CQUni evaluates fruit maturity sensors as part of 'Rural R&D for Profit'

Published:18 May 2015

Professor Kerry Walsh

CQUniversity will draw on $600,000 in fresh funding to evaluate fruit maturity sensors, as part of a project resourced through the 'Rural R&D for Profit' program.

Results of Round 1 of the $100 million Rural R&D for Profit were recently released, with the Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce approving funding of up to $26.7 million for 12 applications.

A CQUniversity team led by Professor Kerry Walsh is involved in a three-year $7 million project titled ‘Multi-scale monitoring tools for managing Australian Tree Crops: Industry meets innovation’, also involving the University of New England, University of Sydney and the University Queensland.

The project focuses on the ‘northern’ fruit tree crops of avocado, mango and macadamia industries. 

Within this project Professor Walsh and team will interact with Professor Salah Sukkarieh (USyd) in the ‘Robotics and Big Data’ theme.

The evaluation of fruit maturity sensors will be undertaken through (i) evaluation of sensor technologies, (ii) data collection across several seasons and districts, demonstrating robustness of application, (iii) integration within a decision support system framework, providing useful management tools to orchardists.

Other work in this theme includes robotics sensing platforms and Big Data management for monitoring individual tree parameters and fruit/inflorescence load.   In the wider project, a database  of all tree growing locations will be developed, assisting in yield forecasts and biosecurity interventions.

This project is another reason why CQUniversity is emerging as one of Australia's great universities.