Yield, PFD Interception, and Crop Load Relationships in `Royal Gala' Apples

in HortScience

Three different parameters were tested to estimate yield in `Royal Gala' apples. These are: a) parameters related to crop load—fruits per tree, fruits per cm2 of branch cross-sectional area, and fruits per hectare; b) parameters related with PFD interception: average fraction of PFD intercepted, total PFD intercepted during the season; and c) combination of the parameters a) and b). The data set was composed of measurements of PFD interception once a month and of yield components on various commercial apple orchards of the variety `Royal Gala' in the central zone of Chile between 2003 and 2006. The orchards were managed for high production, but there were differences of plantation distance, age, and size between them. Also, inside the orchard there were differences between trees. For the trees studied, there were variations of a factor of 10 for crop load, branch cross-sectional area, and tree size estimated as fractional interception of PFD at the beginning of the season. In spite of the big differences between trees, simple equations were fitted between yield and load parameters with coefficients of determination >0.95. Research funded by FONDECYT-Chile grant 1930695.

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