National persimmon varietal evaluation program 2018-2023 (PR17000)
What’s it all about?
Beginning in mid-2018, this investment is tasked with delivering superior and locally-adapted rootstocks for the Australian persimmon industry - suited to mainstay and new commercial varieties - and for the continued import and evaluation of new persimmon varieties.
The project is also developing a standard clonal propagation technique for rootstocks, with guidelines on this and other persimmon management information to be produced for growers to adopt along the way.
Spain and Portugal, major producers of persimmon, were visited in late 2018 to gather information on different aspects of persimmon production. Sites included research and academic institutes, persimmon orchards, packing facilities, storage facilities, ripening facilities, and persimmon nurseries.
The visit allowed collaboration to be established, with Dr Maria Badenes from IVIA (the Valencia agriculture institute) now formally linked to this project, and links made with the University of Algarve, also in Spain.
The research team reports that the visits furthered their work, including…
- Learning about a Spanish pruning system that allows overseas producers to produce persimmons without investing in trellis supports. The branches within the trees are tied up with strings to bear the fruit load during the growing season. To test the system in Australia, a new planting at Dareton will trial the technique.
- Arranging the importation of Diospyros lotus seed from Spain, which will proceed once phytosanitary arrangements are made and clearance is gained from the Australian Government.
- DNA from the Australian selection of Rojo brilliante, a major persimmon variety grown in Spain and Portugal, will be tested to confirm that it is, in fact, that variety. Rojo brilliante has an upright growing habit and will be evaluated for commercial production in Australia.
Other progress includes…
- Collaboration with experts in Japan, China and South Korea has benefited the project, offering the possibility of importing new varieties into Australia.
- Collaboration with plant nurseries to develop stock for grower trials.
- Progress on clonal propagation.
- The establishment of two trials with growers, one in Renmark South Australia and the other in Collignan Victoria, which make use of existing rootstock.
- Collaboration with nurseries to raise rootstock seedlings.
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Persimmon Fund.