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Citrus variety evaluation gets green light

16 May 2018
Grower News

The programme, recently funded for another five years as a strategic levy investment of the Hort Innovation Citrus Fund, is managed at NSW DPI’s Dareton Primary Industries Institute (PII).   

This season, researchers have top-worked ten new varieties to Valencia orange on a range of rootstocks, joining 41 varieties already established in the field. Of these, fourteen varieties will fruit at Dareton for the first time this year. 

Graeme Sanderson, industry stalwart and long-time leader of this research, has stepped aside this season and welcomed Dr Dave Monks in to lead the programme.  “I’ve been with the Department at Dareton for 30 years and have seen the move from public varieties towards private varieties. Continuing to have an independent evaluation helps industry gain confidence in their planting decisions.” 

Dr Monks acknowledged the experience and expertise Graeme has been able to pass on. “Having Graeme show me the ropes this year has been terrific – to be able to learn alongside him will mean, hopefully, we can offer the same standard and service to industry.”

Varieties to fruit in the field at Dareton PII in 2018 for the first time are Valencia (Midknight 115-1717, Ruby, Weipe, Mclean, Lavalle and Benny); Grapefruit (Star Ruby early and late varieties and Jackson – Sweet Sunrise); Navel (Witkrans, Rayno and Glen Ora); and Mandarin (USDA 88-2, Sonet and CSIRO 91-03-04). 

Except CSIRO’s 91-03-04 mandarin, all varieties fruiting this year for the first time are managed by Variety Access Australia – a cultivar management company.  

Growers interested in seeing certain varieties in the field may contact the variety manager and then make an appointment to come to the Dareton PII; juice quality and yield data is available on all varieties that have produced fruit to date. 

The project, ‘Evaluation of new citrus varieties 2017-2022’ (CT17006), has been funded by Hort Innovation using the citrus research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. It is being delivered by NSW DPI.

Source: Citrus Australia