Improved management of charcoal rot of strawberry (BS15005)
Status: New project
What’s it all about? This project will help tackle charcoal rot, with the goal of reducing its occurrence and its related losses and costs for the Australian strawberry industry. It will investigate improved management approaches including chemical, biological and cultural options for the disease, which is caused by the fungus Macrophomina phaseolina and has symptoms including crown and root rot, plant wilting and yellowing of leaves (chlorosis).
What’s the latest update? With the project currently being contracted, more detailed updates will be provided in future editions of Hortlink.
National strawberry varietal improvement program (BS12021)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? To ensure the Australian strawberry industry has access to improved, locally-adapted varieties into the future, Hort Innovation is continuing to support breeding for targeted environments. This is done under the national breeding project with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF). Established in 2012, this project aims to:
- Expand the application of quantitative genetics to estimate breeding values and selection of parents, with an emphasis on developing varieties with increased fruit size and early yield
- Identify and incorporate resistance to wilt diseases
- Integrate and extend analysis of the economic significance of traits to ensure the most economically beneficial traits are the focus of varietal development
- Develop varieties to boost consumer satisfaction.
What’s the latest update? This project has three main ‘nodes’, each representing a different commercial production region with its own varietal needs, which are predominantly climate-based. The northern node represents the sub-tropical production zones of southern Queensland and parts of New South Wales; the western node represents the ‘Mediterranean’ production zone of Western Australia, around Perth; and the southern node represents the temperate production zones of Victoria, South Australia, some of New South Wales, and Tasmania.
Recent work is leading towards the commercial availability of new varieties for the southern node, with cultivars (one day neutral, two short day) currently with growers for on-farm trialling. Pending positive results, it’s expected the cultivars should be available semi-commercially during 2017 and commercially in 2018.
In the Mediterranean node, 25 seedling selections have been identified to progress to the next stage of analysis.
In the northern node, outputs of the project during 2016 included the commercial release of varieties ‘Parisienne Kiss’ and ‘Sundrench’. Seedling production and selection is ongoing, while other work has included screening selections for Colletotrichum resistance and the completion of screening for resistance to Macrophomina in current commercial varieties. Over 20 genotypes were screened in the latter work, with initial results (pending further analysis) identifying Camarosa and Albion as highly susceptible commercial cultivars, and Suncoast Delight as one with high tolerance.
Facilitating the development of the Australian strawberry industry – national oversight and communications (BS15002)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? Established earlier in 2016, this project has a focus on facilitating the adoption of innovation and R&D within the strawberry industry through key communication channels.
It is linked to projects Facilitating the development of the Australian strawberry industry – sub-tropical regional delivery (BS15003) and Facilitating the development of the Australian strawberry industry – temperate regional delivery (BS15004). Combined, the development program is geared towards improving knowledge and skills, and supporting practice change to ensure the profitability and sustainability of the industry.
What’s the latest update? No new milestone report was due in the period since the last edition of Hortlink (Spring 2016). At the time of last reporting, in its initial stage the national project had a focus on establishing and formalising communication channels to ensure industry news, R&D outputs and other key information continues to be delivered effectively to growers and other stakeholders.
- The new Strawberry Innovation website for industry R&D communications was developed and launched: strawberryinnovation.com
- The quarterly industry newsletter Simply Red was overhauled – once tailored just to Queensland growers, the scope has been expanded to national, and the publication has had a redesign. See the current and past editions here
- The monthly e-newsletter The Punnet continued to be distributed.
The December edition of Simply Red, produced under project BS15002