Developing improved strawberry germplasm management and runner quality (BS09024)
What was it all about?
Queensland strawberry growers rely on a supply of high-quality runners with minimal disease. Historically, strawberry runners have been produced in dedicated commercially operated field nurseries by multiplying plants over two growing seasons, starting from minimal pest and disease status foundation plants.
Foundation plants were produced through a process involving tissue culture from nucleus plants held in a high health status glasshouse facility run by the Queensland Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry.
In 2010, the overseas licensors of some of the main commercial varieties grown in Queensland directed their licensees to move to a wholly vegetative propagation system by 2014, to reduce the risk of introducing off-type plants into runners.
This project, which ran from 2011 to 2013, investigated the possible transition of minimal pest and disease status plant production based on vegetative propagation to a commercial entity, with a new reliable runner scheme.
Researchers developed a vegetative method of producing F1 foundation plants with minimal and pest disease status in sterile potting media. This replaced the labour intensive and expensive tissue culture of foundation plants.
In future, F1 plants will be produced by Crop Health Services (Crop Hygiene-Biosecurity Services) in Victoria, under direct contract to runner growers and the runner growers will use these plants to propagate the F2 plants in their own insect proof screen house facilities.
A new runner accreditation scheme was developed for use by the Australian Strawberry Runner Accreditation Authority, with a Board consisting of an independent chair and equal numbers of fruit and runner growers.
The Authority was to oversee the production of accredited approved strawberry runners. It is not involved in any commercial activities, and does not hold any variety licences.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation
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