Orchard management strategies to reduce bruises on apples in India: a review


India is the fifth-largest apple producer in the world with more than 2 MT per year. Mechanical damage such as bruises of apples (Malus domestica Borkh.), which can result in considerable wastage and decline in quality, is a major problem of the apple industry. On-site investigations of apple orchard management strategies to reduce bruises in Northern India were conducted by the first author in collaboration with the University of Bonn. The apple industry including the farmers is in a continuous process of reducing losses caused by mechanical damage. Apple bruises can develop along the whole value chain. Orchard management offers countermeasures to reduce bruise susceptibility of the apples. At harvest, bruises can be caused by impact and compression forces due to unsuitable practices. This review explains the formation and development of bruises, followed by the causes of mechanical damage and orchard management measures to reduce or avoid bruises, with particular regard to India. The orchard management measures include crop load management, fruit water status and nutrient composition, maturity stage, harvest time later in the day, gentle harvest methods, packing into soft, padded bins and careful transport of the apple bins out of the orchard.