An important component of the fruit quality of ‘Conference’ pear is a ‘fresh’, green background colour. Deterioration of background colour (yellowing) during storage is correlated too low fruit N content and loss of firmness. This project focuses on achieving optimal fruit N content through improved N fertilizer dosage and application timing, while minimizing nitrate leaching.N fertilizer application impact on yield, growth, N content of fruit, N partitioning throughout the tree and soil is studied using 15N. Differences between fertigation and organic inputs is evaluated. Finally, optimized N application schedules derived from from these experiments are put in place to remedy fruit N shortages on participating growers’ plantations. Remote sensing of tree N content complementing mineral analysis of soil and leaves is explored as a tool for efficient fertilizer management.

Optimisation of nitrogen fertilisation at 'Conference' pear to improve fruit quality

VLAIO 160782 (Landbouwtraject)

Contact: Bart Vanhoutte (; Serge Remy (; Ann Gomand ( and Jef Vercammen (

Timing: 01/01/2017-31/12/2021

Financing: VLAIO met co-financiering (10%)

Partnership: Bodemkundige Dienst België (Pieter Janssens en Sofie Reynaert); UGent ISOFYS (Pascal Boeckx, Ben Colpaert); UGent Laboratory of Plant Ecology (Kathy Steppe, Ben Colpaert)