Managing the fruitfulness of Menindee seedless grapes (TG03011)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
A research, development and extension (RD&E) plan for the low fruitfulness problem in the table grape variety Menindee Seedless had recently been developed for the Australian table grape industry at the time.
Symptoms of low fruitfulness included a lack of bunches and undersized bunches that were too small for premium quality fruit.
The plan outlined the key areas for RD&E work and future industry investment.
Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) on behalf of the Australian table grape industry, commissioned a national scoping study to determine the varieties affected by poor fruitfulness, the nature of the problem and severity in each of the production districts across Australia.
The scoping study was undertaken a team of table grape researchers from around Australia. The team was led by David Oag, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, and included scientists from CSIRO, Department of Primary Industries (Victoria), Northern Territory Department of Business, Industry and Regional Development, and Agriculture Western Australia.
Capturing the experiences of table grape growers from around Australia was a key aspect/step in establishing the fruitfulness problem and developing the RD&E plan. As part of the industry consultation process questionnaires were sent to tablegrape growers across Australia. Regional industry forums were subsequently held to expand on the information collected from the questionnaires.
Mr Oag said “feedback from industry demonstrated that Menindee Seedless was the variety worst affected by poor fruitfulness or a lack of bunches. Menindee Seedless was the most important variety within the tablegrape industry across northern Australia, making up approximately 70 per cent of plantings.
As an early ripening, white seedless tablegrape Menindee Seedless were highly sought after by retailers and consumers.
In describing the RD&E plan Mr Oag said the plan contained two major strategies. The first was research to establish the key times in the floral cycle of Menindee Seedless in subtropical environments plus the factors for fruitfulness. The second was field research to develop vineyard management practices effective in maximising the fruitfulness of Menindee Seedless. “A lot of this field work can be successfully and cost effectively completed within existing tablegrape grower development groups such as GoGrape and Grape Cheque” Mr Oag said.
The other strategies within the plan included developing alternative varieties, a coordinated and enhanced transfer of information to growers, and development of financial information to assist Menindee Seedless growers in considering their options to growing Menindee Seedless.
Table grape growers and members of the public could obtain a copy of the RD&E investment plan from the then Hort Innovation (the Horticulture Australia Limited) or their state representative of the Industry Advisory Committee.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the voluntary financial support of the table grape industry.
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