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Ongoing project

Evaluation of potential prunus rootstocks for almond production – stage 3

Key research provider: Almond Board of Australia

What's it all about?

This investment evaluates a range of potential new almond rootstocks and assesses their compatibility with the common almond cultivars grown in Australia and their performance under Australia's growing conditions.

Improved understanding and knowledge of the performance of prunus rootstocks will drive grower profitability by informing decision-making processes. It will also reduce the risk of adopting new rootstock varieties by making rootstock performance data available under Australian government environments.

This project builds on previous evaluation trials established at Lindsay Point and Loxton in South Australia under the Hort Innovation Almond Fund projects AL11012 and AL16006. This project continues the data collection and evaluation for the first two trial sites and establishes a third trial site in the Riverina, where soils are much heavier. The research team will measure key growth and production parameters for comparison against industry-standard Nemaguard.

The key objectives of this project are to:  

  • Evaluate the performance of prunus rootstocks under Australian growing environments.  
  • Establish a trial site in the Riverina to evaluate the performance of prunus rootstocks in heavy soils.  
  • Develop a data package and other grower resources to communicate rootstock performance data and support Australian almond growers' decision-making.

Performance data was collected from the two rootstock evaluation plantings at Lindsay Point, South Australia (SA) planted in 2013 and the Almond Board of Australia’s Experimental Orchard in Loxton, SA planted in 2019. This involved collecting data for yield, flowering time and anchorage. Samples for nutrition and nematode susceptibility have been collected for further lab analysis. Tree size measures were collected by subcontractors Aerobotics and SARDI using commercially available and research technologies to provide comparison of the two approaches.

A third trial site was statistically designed by the University of Adelaide and successfully planted at Tubbo, NSW. This site will be evaluated as per the original two sites comparing the performance of nine rootstocks on heavy clay soil. These rootstocks include Atlas, Viking, Rootpac R, Rootpac 20, Nemaguard, Garnem, Cornerstone, Barrier 1 (Empyrean) and Tetra. 

Engagement activities extending project findings to growers included: ABA field walk of the trial site at Lindsay Point in August 2022; the Almond Centre of Excellence Open Day following the 2022 Almond Industry Conference in October 2022; finalization of the rootstock technical document; In-a-Nutshell magazine article.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Almond Fund