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Historical document

Pear evaluation program stage 2 (AP11031)

Key research provider: Apple & Pear Australia Limited (APAL)
Publication date: June, 2013

This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.

What was it all about?

The commercial development of new pear varieties was one of the key strategies of Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) to revitalise the Australian Pear Industry. This involved completion of productivity and quality evaluations of the first-generation selections from the National Pear Breeding Program (NPBP) and to identify those suitable for commercial evaluation.

The project also aimed to identify new selections from the 6,000 second generation seedlings and establish them onto rootstocks. These new pear selections highlighted the potential benefits of continuation of pear breeding and may have helped entice new investors into funding pear breeding with early and exclusive access to this material potentially included.

The program had a large range of red blushed pears with exceptional eating quality that were to follow the first two cultivar releases of ANP-0181 and ANP-0131. The intellectual property, distribution and marketing of both these cultivars were managed by Coregeo Australia. These pears offered the opportunity for Australian growers to produce a range of high quality red blushed pear varieties that could have had a clearly defined marketing advantage internationally. These pear varieties had the potential to re-invigorate consumer interest in eating pears, attract new pear consumers and increase per capita consumption.

The new cultivar ANP-0131 trademarked “Deliza” was well suited to wide spread release to the Apple and Pear Industry due to its long term storage. It stores for up to 4 months cool store and 10 months under controlled atmosphere when picked at a flesh pressure of around 6kg. A recent consumer preference evaluation between ANP-0131 and Packham’s Triumph confirmed consumers’ willingness to pay a premium for ANP0131 and for most to purchase it in addition to other pear and apple cultivars.

The early selection ANP-0118 took more skill by the grower to achieve a suitable product for market in terms of sufficient red blush coverage, and suitable tree ripened eating quality. This cultivar was ideally marketed immediately as a crisp, tree ripened pear due to its early ripening period prior to Williams Bon Chrétien (WBC) in early-mid January.

When this report was published, Management trials were already underway by the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) to determine the combination of rootstocks, training systems and irrigation techniques that would maximise the precocity, yield and quality attributes of these new blushed cultivars. Grower trials had also been established overseas in Europe and the USA.

The Dr Jules Guyot x Corella selection ANP-0534 was the most recent pear to be recommended for commercial evaluation. It had shown consistent high quality and productivity attributes over the last three years. It had strong, bright red blush and when it ripened its skin showed a distinct background colour change from green to yellow taking the difficulty out of determining when a pear was properly softened to eat.

Another promising selection was the light green pear ANP-0506 which had an extremely long harvest range from mid Feb to early May. It was tree-ripened as a crisp pear or could be softened to a fine buttery texture with good aromatics when harvested and stored for the correct chilling time. It had potential as a “fresh-cut” product due to it negligible browning of the flesh.

Second generation crosses, many utilising ANP-0118 as a main parent, were evaluated over the last three years and 41 new selections made. These selections included an apple-shaped selection ANP-1218 with bright red blush. The tree was extremely productive and sized large fruit. The flesh texture was fine, melting with pleasant European pear aromatics. This selection had potential as a niche product to attract new pear consumers.


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Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the voluntary financial support of the apple and pear industry.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2013. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).