Australian cherry evaluation utilising precocious rootstocks (CY12024)
What was it all about?
The Australian cherry industry currently grows many imported varieties that are unproven in Australian climatic conditions. It is essential that varieties are evaluated to ensure that the industry is able to consistently deliver large quantities of high quality fruit to overseas and domestic markets.
Running from 2013 to 2018, this project evaluated 115 cherry varieties that had been developed in the industry’s breeding program.
Two of the most promising precocious rootstocks, Gisela 6 and Krymsk 5, were compared with the industry standard Mazzard F12/1, in the evaluation orchard in the Adelaide Hills. The aim was to determine which varieties are likely to be commercially viable, whether they grow better on a precocious rootstock or any standard non-dwarfing rootstock, and, if a line requires a precocious rootstock, are there advantages of any particular one.
Researchers gathered bloom and fruit quality assessment data and 46 of the 115 breeding lines were culled. A further 69 lines continued in the trial, with eight having excellent results during the 2017/18 season. Some are dark cherries, and some are white or blushed cherries.
During the 2017/18 harvest season field walks were conducted so growers could see first-hand bloom and the cropping and fruit quality of the lines with fruit on trees. This resulted in the ordering of semi commercial quantities of six lines. These trees will be available to plant winter 2019, protected by non-propagation and testing agreement.
A further three or four seasons is required to fully evaluate the lines that remain, identify the top performers and check for consistency over time.
Watch this video overview of the project, which was produced as part of the levy-funded cherry industry communications program early in the investment.
This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Cherry Fund