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Historical document

Demonstrating the benefits of early establishment of tissue culture plants to the NSW banana industry (BA08010)

Key research provider: NSW Department of Industry and Investment
Publication date: August, 2010

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Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.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?

Banana growers in NSW had been reluctant to adopt the use of tissue cultured plants when re-planting despite the well known advantages of pest and disease freedom and more concentrated harvest.

For best results in the subtropical climate, growers in NSW prefered to plant in the spring. Tissue culture plants were often not considered large enough for planting until late December or sometimes later. Growers often cited this, as well as the higher cost, as a reason they do not use tissue cultured plants more often.

This trial aimed to find out how smaller plants, planted early in the spring, would grow compared to larger plants planted later in the season. The success of each planting was determined by comparing the size of each lot of plants by the end of the peak growing season in the following autumn. A planting of conventional planting material was included in the trial for comparison with the tissue cultured plants.

The trial demonstrated that the suckers planted in early November grew the largest plants. It was also shown that within the three tissue culture plantings the smallest, November planted plants were larger by the end of summer when compared to the plants which were kept for a longer time in the nursery and planted in December and January. In other words, the banana plants with a shorter time in the nursery but a correspondingly longer time in the field grew to be larger than the plants with a longer time in the nursery but less time in the field. The smaller plants were cheaper to grow and significantly cheaper to transport.

So, while there was no indication of any production advantage from using tissue culture plants in NSW, it was still recommended that growers in NSW who were using tissue cultured plants for new varieties and/or biosecurity reasons should aim to had plants in the ground before the middle of December, or earlier if possible to give the plants the best establishment opportunity.

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Funding statement:
This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Bananas New South Wales.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2010. 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)).