Creating wealth for the Australian apple industry with consumer-preferred scab resistant apple selections - stage 2 (AP08041)
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What was it all about?
Apple scab (colloquially known as black spot), is a major fungal disease of apples worldwide, and costed the Australian industry upwards of $10 million annually in chemical control and fruit losses at the time. New apple varieties resistant to scab were bred by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Queensland (DAFF Qld).
‘Kalei’ was the first scab-resistant apple to be released from this program, and was publically launched in May 2012 by the Hon. John McVeigh, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Queensland.
Coregeo® Australia signed a licence agreement with DAFF Qld to commercialise ‘Kalei’, and was instrumental in developing the ‘Kalei’ name for the apple previously known and tested as ‘RS103-130’. The first ‘Kalei’ trees for commercial planting became available from Coregeo® in winter 2013.
‘Kalei’ attracted worldwide interest for its high quality, sweetness and resistance to the apple scab disease. It was an attractive, crisp, juicy, red apple that matured just before ‘Pink Lady’TM. ‘Kalei’ apples retained firmness and crispness whether sold fresh or out of long-term storage, and had exceptional crispness even when left at room temperature for three weeks.
‘Kalei’ could be grown either conventionally or organically. The scab resistance of ‘Kalei’ proved durable in the orchard, and no sprays for apple scab (apart from an annual green tip copper) were used in eleven seasons of producing ‘Kalei’ apples at Applethorpe Research Station, Qld.
A second scab-resistant selection, which matured immediately after ‘Royal Gala’, was likely to be the next apple released from the breeding program. It was a crisp, juicy, red apple, with balanced, sweet flavour and fine melting texture.
The acceptability of apples to consumers in Brisbane was a key part of the process to determine which scab-resistant apples had the potential to become commercial varieties.
Another 34 scab-resistant apple selections were identified that may have had commercial potential. These included apples that were sweet, tart or a blend of both; apples that were red, yellow or green; and apples that matured between January and May. Further work with consumers helped determine which of these may be new Australian apple varieties for the future.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited).
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