National almond breeding and evaluation program (AL17005)
What’s it all about?
This investment is continuing to run a targeted breeding program to develop new almond varieties with improved production characteristics, while progressing the evaluation of varieties from earlier iterations of the program and from overseas breeding programs.
The aim is to ultimately provide industry access to new varieties that are high-yielding, with self-fertility, improved disease tolerance, closed shells and desirable visual and eating qualities.
This program builds on earlier investment Australian almond variety evaluation and commercialisation program (AL12015).
The team report progress in several areas, including:
- Primary evaluation plantings were established at the Loxton Centre of Excellence, with secondary and tertiary evaluations ongoing at grower properties
- Three selections from secondary block 3 and three from block 4 showed higher yields than Nonpareil and will be the focus of continuing evaluations
- Crosses were designed for pollinations in 2021, aiming for self-fertility, higher protein content and disease resistance
- Commercial trials will be established in California as part of upcoming plantings in January 2023
- Technology transfer continued via industry communications and grower networks.
Read this article about the National Almond Breeding Program in ABA’s All About Almonds, May 2021 edition.
Since the last project update, the team reports progress in the following areas:
- Seedling trees from the 2019 crosses were planted at Loxton in a new primary evaluation site.
- 5,000 crosses were completed using pollen collected in 2019 as well as freshly collected pollen, again targeting self-fertility and disease tolerance in the parents. These will be harvested in March 2021.
- Flowering data was collected, biochemical testing was completed on selections, and secondary and tertiary evaluations at grower’s properties are ongoing.
Read this story from ABC Rural featuring the project: Almond industry set to be more sustainable as new solutions sought to reduce environmental footprint.
Efforts to develop new high yielding self-fertile almond scion varieties via hybridisations and seedling selections are progressing well, including …
- Evaluation of the Dareton Primary site has been completed. All trees that carried fruit have been picked and evaluated for nut characteristics. Before the site is cleaned up all selections were re-picked in early 2019 and the latest selections will be budded onto rootstock for secondary trialling.
- Variety trials established under earlier investment AL12015 are now undergoing secondary and tertiary evaluations.
- Hybrids for 2019 have been chosen, to produce trees with self-fertility and resistance to bacterial spot and hull rot resistance.
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Almond Fund