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Completed project

Variety evaluation and tree certification services for the apple and pear industry (AP16004)

Key research provider: Australian Pome Fruit Improvement Program
Publication date: Friday, May 29, 2020

What was it all about?

Running from mid-2017 to mid-2020, this project supported the operation of the Australian Pome Fruit Improvement Program (APFIP) to deliver essential infrastructure and information related to the evaluation of new varieties and the certification of trees propagated from high-health-status materials. The project provided growers the assistance and confidence in making critical decisions about which variety to plant, what rootstock to plant it on, and assurance that high health planting and propagation material was being supplied.

Evaluation services

The establishment of the two demonstration sites on the Tatura Research Station are key achievements of this project that in the coming years will provide professionally, scientifically managed demonstrations on a site accessible to all stakeholders associated with the industry.

APFIP Repository

The Repository site at Cambridge has been maintained throughout the project. During the project the facility has supplied budwood to nurseries for the propagation of trees for evaluation sites and also for nurseries propagating trees for commercialized varieties. APFIP has been supplying foundation material to nurseries that it has sublicensed to propagate the next generation JM and quince Eline rootstocks for rollout to industry. The repository also has been used a source for virus free propagation material for initiation of tissue culture propagation.

Certification

Plans to organise a seminar focused on developing another model for funding of the certification system is underway with a protocol for variety and rootstock virus certification ex post entry Quarantine having been drafted in 2018. Discussions around adoption of this were reinitiated in April 2019 and more recent plans have been made to progress this draft protocol. 

Grower engagement

Site visits to all evaluation sites were conducted at least three times per year to inform growers of the services APFIP provides and to answer any questions or provide advice. This grower advisory in person service has since been further broadened with regular articles published in APAL publications and the establishment of an APFIP Facebook page, from late 2019 onwards. Additionally, APFIP commenced regular contributions to APAL for publication in Industry Juice and the Australian Fruit Grower from mid-2019.

Field days

APFIP held a field day in February 2020 in the Goulburn Valley for growers to view the variety and certification demonstration plantings along with a next generation rootstock demonstration planting. There were plans for a further three to four similar grower field day gatherings in regional areas to view PREVAR Stage 3 plantings, however, did not eventuate due to the COVID-19 restrictions.  APFIP plans to hold these in the 2021 harvest season.

ACT NOW

See the release of the The document outlines a selection of apple and pear reports, with further information also available from the APFIP section of the APAL website here.

Several articles relating to the project were also released, see below:

Related levy funds
Details

This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Apple and Pear Fund