Evaluation of dried and table grape varieties (MT15026)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? Begun in 2016, this multi-industry project will deliver new grape varieties for both the table grape and dried grape industries. For table grapes, new varieties adapted to local conditions will enable Australia to differentiate its products in international markets, enhance export opportunities and increase domestic consumption. The new varieties will reduce production costs and minimise issues such as berry collapse in Thompson seedless, as well as poor budburst and low fruit bearing in sub-tropical regions. Early and late ripening types, and those with favourable long-term storage and transport characteristics, will also extend the season and provide opportunities to develop new markets.
What’s the latest update? For table grapes, recent work in the project has included the establishment of a new regional test site on a commercial property in Emerald, Queensland. Here, 11 promising selections (five white, two red and three black) have been planted as own-rooted vines and also grafted on five different rootstocks (1103 Paulsen, 140 Ruggeri, Freedom, 101-14 and SO4).
In early 2016 there had been the planting of selections in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. These vines have now been trained and fully established on trellis systems, and are expected to produce significant crops in November/December this year.
These regional test sites will enable the evaluation of the planted selections, to assess their performance in different environments and their suitability to meet specific industry and consumer expectations.
There has also been the grafting of 12 further table grape selections onto Ramsey rootstock across trial plots at CSIRO’s facility in Irymple, Victoria. Establishment of these selections will enable evaluation to be conducted under near-commercial conditions, with promising selections to be included in future regional and commercial test sites.
Across the project’s various trial sites, the researchers report there has been implementation of vine management strategies to enhance fruit quality of selections. These strategies have included gibberellic acid (GA) treatments for berry thinning, rachis stretching and berry sizing; bunch thinning and trimming; and leaf removal in the bunch zone.
Export market access, maintenance, biosecurity and developing export markets for the Australian table grape industry (TG14000)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? This project aims to improve and maintain market access for Australian table grapes in overseas markets. A key focus is direct engagement with growers and exporters to develop export readiness and industry knowledge, and engagement with existing, new and potential markets and importers.
What’s the latest update? Key activities under this project continue to develop export readiness for table grape growers, including the delivery of export protocol workshops and training – with new online, self-paced training on pest-monitoring being rolled out this harvest season (look out for details in industry and Hort Innovation communication channels).
There is also the continued delivery of tools, such as the new online export registration and mapping system. Available at www.australiangrapes.com.au/export-registration and continuing to be enhanced, the online system enables growers to register table grape properties for accreditation to export to Asian markets, replacing the old paper-based registration and accreditation process.
Other project activities include:
- Development of an export manual
- Organising and coordinating strategic importer tours
- Provision of market intelligence and export statistics to growers
- Market-access activities, such as industry participation in strategic meetings with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and relevant state government authorities, as well as attendance at strategic trade shows such as Asia Fruit Logistica and the China Fruit and Vegetable Fair at the end of 2016. The table grape industry also has a presence at the Gulfood expo being held in Dubai at the end of February this year.
Australian table grape industry communications project (TG15008)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? Established in 2016, this project continues to maintain and improve communication to Australian table grape growers and other industry stakeholders. By keeping the industry up-to-date on R&D and marketing activities, news, events and other critical information, its ultimate goal is to help the industry tackle issues, and to support decision-making and the uptake of new research and technologies within table grape businesses.
What’s the latest update? A number of regular communication channels continue to be produced and maintained by this project, including but not limited to:
- Quarterly magazine The Vine, distributed to industry stakeholders and also available online at australiangrapes.com.au/the-vine-magazine (The Vine is a joint magazine between the table grape and dried fruit industries)
- The Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) website, australiangrapes.com.au, which is updated regularly
- Regular e-newsletters from ATGA
- ATGA social media channels including Facebook, Twitter (@ATGAHortnetwork) and LinkedIn
- Annual grower forums and other industry events.
The latest edition of The Vine magazine, part of project TG15008 and in collaboration with the dried fruit industries
Other R&D projects of note…
- Cold disinfestation verification trials for table grape access to Japan (TG11013), which is due for completion in 2017.