Hort Innovation continues to invest the strawberry R&D levy in a range of projects to grow the industry. From continued work to deliver locally-adapted varieties, to new research into disease management, read more about these investments in the R&D snapshot below.


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

  • Important updates regarding the strawberry 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 strawberry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) when providing advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments.
  • The latest updates regarding the strawberry 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 in November 2016, and is due to meet again during March this year.
  • The 2015/16 strawberry industry annual report, detailing activities from the previous financial year.
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the strawberry industry.

Any questions?

As well as the strawberry grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Bradley Mills is always available to answer questions on the strawberry program on 0408 635 465 or at



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:
  • 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.

Simply Red issue

The December edition of Simply Red, produced under project BS15002

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