Commercial development of subtropical mandarin hybrids (CT09023)
What was it all about?
Mandarin growers operating in subtropical Australia need better varieties if they are to remain competitive on both domestic and international markets. There is a significant gap between consumer expectations and the mandarin fruit they actually consume, and new improved varieties can close this gap.
The Mandarin Hybridisation Project carried out in Queensland had previously developed more than 50,000 hybrids, many of which were carefully tested to identify a those with the most promise. This project, which ran from 2010 to 2014, aimed to progress these high-quality selections toward commercial production.
This project began with an assessment of the remaining 16,000 original hybrids from the Mandarin Hybridisation Project. Although close to 500 individual hybrids originally showed commercial potential, an extensive period of testing identified fewer than 20 that were worth testing in commercial orchards.
Even then, the selected cultivars had one remaining problem - high numbers of seeds (20-30 per fruit), which is known to be undesirable among consumers. Through the production and screening of large numbers of variants, researchers found low-seeded selections of the best quality hybrids.
These were then carefully compared as daughter trees to ensure that undesirable changes had not occurred in other traits such as acidity and productivity, and to identify the best few to go into a final stage of commercial testing.
Commercial test blocks of low-seeded variants of three high quality hybrids were planted at the end of the project, to provide fruit for test marketing and production testing ahead of full-scale commercialisation.
The project was successfully guided by a management committee plus input from growers, marketers and contributing organisations who inspected and tasted the new mandarin cultivars.
The new high-quality low-seeded mandarins went on to be established in commercial quantities.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation
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