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Ongoing project

Australian Strawberry Breeding Program (BS22000)

Key research provider: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland (DAFQ)

What's it all about?

This investment continues the development and commercial release of superior strawberry varieties for Australian environments, including temperate, subtropical and Mediterranean-growing regions. By ensuring that the Australian strawberry industry has access to improved, locally adapted strawberry varieties, this project supports a sustainable and profitable national strawberry industry.

The research team will build upon the successful pipeline developed in the previous iteration of the project National strawberry varietal improvement program (BS17000). The approach will be enhanced by incorporating genomic prediction and marker assisted selection methodologies. New and established germplasm exchange arrangements will ensure the program has access to the best international selections in addition to the superior material currently maintained by the DAFQ breeding team.

The Australian national strawberry industry has an estimated farm gate value of $417 million (2021/22 Australian Horticulture Statistics Handbook). Varieties developed by the Australian Strawberry Breeding Program currently capture 45 per cent of the national market and 90 per cent of the subtropical industry. These varieties currently provide approximately 11,000 jobs in production alone in Australia and are estimated to have a farm gate value of approximately $174 million last year.

In the first six months, the  Australian Strawberry Breeding Program (ASBP) has:

  • Engaged with industry across all three production regions, including dissemination of trial results and findings, a temperate farm walk, temperate and subtropical reference group meetings, attendance and presentations at meetings, and a publication in the industry newsletter. Key members of the Mediterranean industry agreed on increasing the number of Mediterranean seedlings assessed to 20,000 across the life of the project.
  • The 2022-23 temperate breeding trials at Wandin North and Applethorpe have concluded, and results statistically analysed. A total of 97 seedlings were selected, as well as 15 early-stage and 9 advanced-stage clones for retrialing in 2023-24. Fifteen selections were trialed in ten on-farm trials across the temperate production region.
  • Subtropical and Mediterranean trials were planted from mid-March to early April 2023. Subtropical trials at Nambour and Bundaberg include a total of 12,617 seedlings, 159 early-stage and 67 advanced-stage accessions. Mediterranean trials include 1,333 seedlings, 18 advanced-stage and 36 early-stage accessions.
  • Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) Part II applications have been submitted to IP Australia for ‘Tahli-ASBP’, ‘Tamara-ASBP’, ‘Susie-ASBP’ and ‘SB17-230-ASBP’.
  • Seed from five temperate families was sent to Vissers Plant Innovators in the Netherlands in February 2023. Seedlings germinated from five families created by Vissers will be included in the 2023-24 temperate breeding trial.
    Routine charcoal rot resistance screening has recently been completed for 26 accessions and varieties. Fusarium wilt and Powdery mildew screening will commence in May/June.
  • DNA extraction optimisation protocols are underway at Genotyping Australia following issues obtaining quality DNA. This is anticipated to be resolved in the next month and genomic prediction analysis recommenced. 71 accessions have been screened for the gamma-decalactone flavour gene and 75 for the day neutrality gene.

Related levy funds

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