Raspberry and Blackberry

Fruit quality continues to be the main focus for Hort Innovation’s investment of the raspberry and blackberry R&D levy. Read more on the latest work to understand and combat red drupelet disorder in the R&D snapshot below. To discover how the marketing levy is being put to use, head to the marketing snapshot.


After you’ve read about the raspberry and blackberry industry’s current levy investments and outcomes in this edition of Hortlink, check out Hort Innovation’s raspberry and blackberry grower page. The grower page remains your one-stop-shop for industry information, including:

  • Important updates regarding the raspberry and blackberry Strategic Investment Plan (SIP), as available. Developed in close consultation with growers and other industry stakeholders, the SIP is a document outlining the priorities for strategic investment in the industry. It is to be used like a ‘roadmap’ by the raspberry and blackberry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) when providing advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments.
  • The latest updates regarding the raspberry and blackberry SIAP, including details on the panel’s recently appointed chair, Alison Kelly, and summaries from all SIAP meetings to date. The SIAP most recently met in Melbourne at the end of November 2016, and is due to meet again in March this year.
  • The 2015/16 raspberry and blackberry industry annual report, detailing activities from the previous financial year.
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the raspberry and blackberry industry.

Any questions?

As well as the raspberry and blackberry grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Bradley Mills is always available to answer questions on the raspberry and blackberry program, on 0408 635 465 or at bradley.mills@horticulture.com.au. For questions relating specifically to the industry’s marketing, contact Hort Innovation Marketing Lead Graeme Yardy.



Building resilience to drupelet disorder on rubus (RB14003)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Established in 2015, this project aims to identify contributing causes to red drupelet disorder in blackberries, and to identify improved management practices pre, post and during harvest that might reduce its incidence.

What’s the latest update? Analysis of the data from the first year of trials in the project has now produced promising results.

  • In regards to nitrogen management, trials on the role of nitrogen fertilisation in the expression of red drupelet disorder found excess nitrogen produced higher rates of the disorder throughout the first-year trial season – but that affected fruit was not significantly different, chemically or physically. The first year also suggested no correlation between temperature at harvest and drupelet disorder, though early-season fruit did have significantly higher levels of the disorder. This work continues.
  • In regards to post-harvest influences, storage temperature and post-harvest physical damage were shown to play significant roles in red drupelet disorder. The researchers found that fruit cooled at a slower rate was less prone to the disorder, with the introduction of a ‘pre-cooling’ treatment to slow cooling after harvest reducing the incidence of the disorder. In year two, work was continuing to develop management practices around temperature.
  • In regards to the underlying physiology, red drupelet disorder results in a loss of anthocyanin pigments that give blackberries their dark colour. It’s not clear what reaction causes this loss, but as a first step the researchers have now analysed the pigments in blackberry drupelets unaffected, partially affected and severely affected by the disorder.

Drupelet disorder

Trials to induce red drupelet disorder in the first year of project RB14003 with (A) control fruit, (B) fruit with physical force applied at 0-2°C, and (C) fruit with physical force applied at 7-9°C



Summer 2017 has been a busy time for the raspberry and blackberry marketing program, following a successful season media launch in late November.

Launch event and coverage

At the launch event, media influencers were treated to a season briefing, a presentation on the health benefits of berries, and a delicious berry-full breakfast. Off the back of this, there have since been 85 pieces of media coverage featuring raspberries and blackberries – well exceeding the target of 65.

Coverage has appeared in titles such as Australian Women’s Weekly, Weight Watchers, New Idea and Nourish. Overall, media reporting from the event has resulted in a reach of 5.3 million people, with more raspberry and blackberry content expected in upcoming issues.

Social media

Social media has proven to be a continuing strong channel for raspberries and blackberries. The consumer-facing Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LoveFreshBerries) continues to grow, and now has over 17,850 fans following it. Monthly, the social media content reaches approximately 89,000 people.

The social media strategy will be continued for the rest of the season, engaging the audience with delicious berry usage ideas, sharing healthy eating and lifestyle tips, and encouraging consumers to share their own berry-centric dishes.

In-store demonstrations

In February, a program of in-store demonstrations began across the major retailers, with a focus on encouraging shoppers to try the delicious raspberries and blackberries available this season. This has also been an opportunity to share some of the health benefits of adding berries to breakfast and other meals.

Results of this activity will be available in the next edition of Hortlink.

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