Modelling the effect of preharvest weather conditions on the incidence of soft scald in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples.

Lachapelle, M., Bourgeois, G., DeEll, J.R., Stewart, K.A., and Séguin, P. (2013). "Modelling the effect of preharvest weather conditions on the incidence of soft scald in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples.", Postharvest Biology and Technology, 85, pp. 57-66. doi : 10.1016/j.postharvbio.2013.04.004  Access to full text

Abstract

‘Honeycrisp’ apples show a high susceptibility to physiological disorders such as soft scald. The objective of this study was to identify weather parameters during fruit development that influence soft scald development in ‘Honeycrisp’ apples. Soft scald susceptibility of ‘Honeycrisp’ has been linked to weather conditions during specific periods of the growing season, referenced by given phenological stages. Using weather data and fruit quality analysis data from three sites in Ontario, two sites in Quebec and one site in Nova Scotia for three seasons (2009–2011) and four additional sites in Ontario from 2002–2006, a model for soft scald incidence (SSI) was built to predict the susceptibility of ‘Honeycrisp’ apples prior to storage. This model used primarily two weather variables during three sub-periods of fruit development to accumulate a SSI index (%) during the growing season, from full bloom to harvest time. Relatively wet conditions during phenological stages from full bloom until 10 mm diameter (precipitation > 0.5 mm) and from 10 mm until 50% of final caliber (precipitation > 6.0 mm), cool conditions (temperature < 15 °C) from full bloom until 10 mm diameter, and warm conditions (temperature > 20 °C) from 50 to 80% of final size are conditions that resulted in increased soft scald susceptibility for ‘Honeycrisp’ apples. The SSI model may be used by producers to establish more appropriate marketing and storage strategies depending on levels of susceptibility to soft scald development predicted prior to storage.

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