See how the citrus levy is hard at work! Scroll down to learn about Hort Innovation’s current investment of the industry levy, and results from these investments, in the R&D and marketing snapshots – or click on a project name below to go straight to a specific update. Also look for the ‘ACT NOW’ tag to easily identify project resources ready to use.

All projects are funded by Hort Innovation using the citrus R&D or marketing levy and, in the case of R&D, contributions from the Australian Government. In some projects, additional funding sources are also used.


Don’t forget to grab the Citrus Fund Annual Report

Released at the start of November, Hort Innovation’s Citrus Fund Annual Report sums up all levy investments and activities from 2016/17. You can download a copy here, or head to Hort Innovation’s Annual Report Portal to place an order for a free hard copy of the report.

What research do you want to see?

As always, Hort Innovation encourages all growers and industry participants to share their thoughts and ideas for the research they want to see – whether that’s within the industry-specific Citrus Fund (where research is funded by grower levies and Australian Government contributions), or within Hort Innovation’s strategic partnership initiative, Hort Frontiers (where research is funded through partnerships with co-investors).

Watch this video to see how ideas are collected and grown into projects, then submit your suggestions for new projects here.

Get closer to your investments with free membership

Hort Innovation membership brings you closer to the investment activities and results in your levy fund, and to the organisation as a whole. As well as providing the opportunity for voting rights at the company’s Annual General Meeting, membership helps you connect with your industry’s Relationship Manager, sends Hortlink straight to your inbox for first-look access, provides exclusive Grower Intel alerts with industry-specific news and opportunities, and more.

Paying a levy doesn’t automatically make you a member, so read more here and sign up now!

Find resources on the Hort Innovation Citrus Fund page…

Along with Hortlink, Hort Innovation’s webpage for citrus levy payers is a great source of info. On it you’ll find:

  • Key documents including the Citrus Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for 2017-2021, released in mid-2017, and the Citrus Fund Annual Report
  • The latest meeting notes from the citrus Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP), which most recently met on November 3, 2017 in Melbourne, and is due to meet again during March 2018
  • Current financial documents regarding your levy, including operating statements and expenditure summaries for R&D and marketing projects
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the industry.
Any questions?

Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Brad Wells is always available to answer questions or provide info on the Citrus Fund program. He can be reached on 0412 528 398 or at



Improving biosecurity preparedness of the Australian citrus industry

 Status: New project

Key research provider: Plant Health Australia

What’s it all about? Contracted by Hort Innovation in late October, this new project builds on earlier levy-funded project Protecting Australia’s citrus industry from biosecurity threats (CT12022), summarised in an earlier Hortlink here.

The project acknowledges that the industry faces a number of significant exotic pest threats that have the potential to affect production as well as market access. These include Huanglongbing and its psyllid vectors, citrus canker and citrus variegated chlorosis (Xylella). Its work will bolster biosecurity capacity and technical capability for the Australian citrus industry, and include a range of preparedness, response and awareness activities.

Importantly, the project will be developing a nationally coordinated surveillance program for early detection of high-priority pests. It will also be able to provide the industry data to support industry market access and trade.

What’s it all about? With the project still in its initial stages, look out for more details in future editions of Hortlink, and in industry channels. A key element of the work will be ensuring that growers, consultants, other industry participants and members of the public are more aware of biosecurity and exotic pests of citrus.

Australian Citrus Post-harvest Science Program (CT15010)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries

What’s it all about? The development of rots and decay (such as green mould) after harvest can be a serious problem for growers and packers, particularly in fruit for export markets where produce is stored and transported over many weeks. The Australian Citrus Post-harvest Science Program is working to develop best practices to manage current fungicides and sanistiers to control decay, and to ensure Australian citrus remains clean and green with ultra-low residues. The project is continuing to review and extend the best ways to control post-harvest decay and improve the quality of Australian citrus.

What’s the latest update? The project has been facilitating the adoption of new and existing post-harvest approaches through face-to-face interactions across key growing regions (such as the Riverina) as well as through industry articles in Australian Citrus News, with regular updates and articles provided in the publication.

Project activities have recently focused on the assessment of fungicide resistance across Australian citrus packing sheds. A nationwide survey of packing shed hygiene and resistance to post-harvest fungicides was conducted during the 2017 growing season. The results of this survey have shown there is room to improve sanitation practices and the use of fungicides within some packing lines. These results will be discussed with industry at upcoming workshops and post-harvest forums around Australia.

Development of national strategies to manage citrus gall wasp (CT15006)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries

 What’s it all about? Citrus gall wasp is a major and widespread pest in citrus. Established in 2015, this project is developing national management strategies for the wasp based on:

  • Enhanced biological control
  • Better timing of control actions, through investigation of the relationship between weather and the wasp’s development (the development of ‘degree-day’/phenology models)
  • Improved use of oil and other potential repellents
  • Identification of new insecticide options compatible with integrated pest management approaches.

 What’s the latest update? As part of the research, the project team has been looking at optimal gall pruning times, to help limit damage to trees and to production.

At the project outset, the research team noted that if pruning is done some time prior to wasps emerging, the removed galls wither and the wasps don’t emerge. But if pruning is done too close to wasp emergence, the galls need to mulched or burned to prevent the wasps coming out. They also noted the challenge of pruning encouraging new flush – and so making trees more attractive to citrus gall wasp – and of pruning too late potentially reducing yield.

So the researchers have been looking at timing of gall pruning with respect to both the last date before which no adult wasps will emerge from pruned galls, and susceptibility and suitability of post-pruning shoots to gall wasp attack.

From a pruning trial site using common orange trees in the Riverina, they have found optimal pruning timing appears to be four weeks or earlier before gall wasp emergence. Such timing ensures no adult gall wasps emerge from pruned galls and no burning or mulching of the galls is needed.

Project trials involving Valencia and Navel trees in Sunraysia have also found shoots produced after pruning between July and October are all susceptible to gall wasp attack. Late pruning in September or October may result in smaller post-pruning shoots and consequently smaller galls on the shoots, however, such timing may be undesirable in practice as it conflicts with the flowering period.

The project is also continuing trials looking at the effectiveness of Surround – a kaolin-based particle film product – in deterring citrus gall wasps from laying eggs, and at the effectiveness of systemic insecticides including Samurai Systemic Insecticide, Confidor Guard Soil Insecticide and Movento 240SC Insecticide in controlling gall wasp larvae. As reported in an earlier edition of Hortlink, initial results suggest:

  • Surround crop protectant can be an excellent repellent when it comes to egg-lay
  • Confidor Guard Soil Insecticide and Samurai Systemic Insecticide can provide effective control of larvae in late spring
  • Movento 240SC Insecticide and Samurai Systemic Insecticide can provide effective control of larvae during summer-autumn.

Other work includes looking at the effect of plant volatiles on selection of hosts for citrus gall wasp; surveying native parasitic wasp species; looking at the dispersal ranges of citrus gall wasp; and updating phenology models.


If you missed them in earlier editions of Hortlink…

Development of phenology models and a timing guide for the management of Californian red scale in Australian citrus (CT15008)

 Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries

 What’s it all about? Aphytis wasps and petroleum spray oils are used in the control of Californian red scale (CRS) in Australian citrus crops – but they are only (or mostly) effective at certain life stages of the pest, and so timing is everything.

This project is developing degree-day-based phenology models to predict the timing of peak abundance of vulnerable life stages of CRS to better guide Aphytis releases and oil applications.

What’s the latest update? Since November 2015, the project team has been monitoring red scale male flights and crawler activity in the Riverina and Sunraysia regions. As noted the objective of the work is to develop a degree-day model to predict crawler peaks based on male flight peaks. Crawlers and the newly-settled first instars (‘white caps’) that they become are the targeted stages for most chemical applications against red scale.

In observations to date, multiple peaks have been present in the seasonal patterns of both the male flight and crawler activity. Not all peaks were present at all sites in all years, and the first post-winter peak was more consistent than the other peaks. In the Riverina and Sunraysia, the first post-winter peak of male flight appeared between early September and mid-October, and that of the first crawler peak between late October and mid-November. The lag-time varied considerably between sites and seasons.

To verify the importance of correct timing in red scale control, the team has so far conducted two field trials in the Riverina, comparing the effectiveness of a commonly used chemical applied on different dates. Preliminary results have shown that mid-November to early December sprays of half-rate chlorpyrifos plus oil performed better than October sprays in reducing the proportion of red scale infested fruit.


Download a fact sheet of early project findings, presented at the 2017 Citrus Technical Forum in early 2017. More recently, results were presented to growers at a series of citrus roadshows held from September to November, with the presentation on the latest project work soon be published here.

Protecting Australian citrus germplasm through improved diagnostic tools project (CT14009)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries

What’s it all about? Running since 2014, this project is assessing, developing and validating diagnostic methods for a number of endemic graft-transmissible pathogens of citrus to help secure the high health status of the Australian citrus industry. The project also aims to boost Australia’s preparedness for an incursion of devastating citrus disease Huanglongbing.

What’s the latest update? The main project activities remain largely technical and related to the development and refinement of laboratory testing procedures. Improved diagnostic tools that have been developed and validated through the project have been adopted by the National Citrus Repository program (funded through project CT15005, described further down) as well as the Auscitrus propagation scheme to test plant material prior to supply to industry.

At the most recent time of reporting to Hort Innovation, the project team was progressing work to improve the ability to detect the causal agents of Huanglongbing and Australian citrus dieback, and to distinguish between strains of citrus tristeza virus that induce orange stem pitting.

The project is also producing grower fact sheets on citrus tristeza virus, general citrus viruses and citrus viroids – look for these in an upcoming edition of Hortlink.

Evaluation and commercialisation of new citrus rootstocks (CT13042)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries

What’s it all about? Running since 2014, the goal of this project is to make promising new rootstocks commercially available to the Australian citrus industry. Matched to local environmental and soil conditions, the rootstocks will help improve tree health, fruit quality and yield. The work will ultimately allow growers to intensify plantings, modernise orchards and obtain higher yields with minimal extra inputs.

What’s the latest update? As per the last edition of Hortlink, during 2017 there were six new high-performance rootstocks launched in Australia – the first release in more than 20 years.  These rootstocks, from China, were evaluated through the program and its earlier iterations (noting that between 1992 and 2000, rootstock evaluation work was funded through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research).

The new rootstocks are:

  • Zao Yang (Poncirus trifoliata)
  • Tanghe (Poncirus trifoliata)
  • Ghana (Poncirus trifoliata)
  • Donghai (Poncirus trifoliata)
  • Anjiang hongju (Citrus erythrosa)
  • Caoshi xiangju (Citrus erythrosa).

There are no Breeders Rights or royalties on these rootstocks, and at the time of last reporting in Hortlink, Auscitrus (03 5027 4411) had commenced selling their seeds to nurseries.

These new rootstocks are also currently involved in grower field trials, which were planted in March 2017 on 12 orchards across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.

Other trials taking place in the project include…

  • A new trial at the project’s Dareton field site, which was planted during September. It will examine rootstock dwarfing effect.
  • An ongoing trial evaluating nine Vietnamese rootstocks, involving Lane Late navels and Eureka lemons.
  • A semi-commercial trial that was planted back in 2010 as part of an earlier rootstock project.

Data will continue to be collected and analysed, with more details to be provided in future Hortlinks as they become available.


Find an overview of the rootstocks here, on the NSW DPI website. The table at the bottom of the page features information on variety compatibility, fruit yields and quality, disease resistance and more.

In case you missed it, you can also read more about the industry’s new rootstocks in the winter 2017 edition of Australian Citrus News, with details of their suitability and characteristics reiterated on p31.

Australian citrus industry innovation and market development program (CT15012)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Citrus Australia

 What’s it all about? Beginning in 2016, this project supports a range of personnel to help develop a globally competitive and well-informed citrus industry that can reliably supply product that satisfies market requirements. These personnel include:

  • A market development manager (MDM), to help facilitate reliable supply, overcome market challenges and identify new opportunities. Activities of the MDM include the coordination of exporter groups, trade missions, crop forecasting and biosecurity work.
  • A market access manager (MAM), to help the industry overcome barriers to trade. Activities of the MAM include updating the industry’s export strategy plan and export manual, working with stakeholders to improve phytosanitary protocols, and advising on Free Trade Agreements.
  • A market information manager (MIM) to engage all value-chain participants to capture and disseminate timely information on supply, market conditions and shipping movements.

What’s the latest update? Project activities remain many and varied, with the three managers engaging with growers, packers, exporters, retailers, government and researchers to protect the citrus production base; prioritise market-access initiatives; streamline export registration procedures; provide market information; and improve product offerings for domestic and international markets.

Some specific project activities include…

  • Continued delivery of monthly Season Updates for growers, which provide a summary for the major citrus growing regions including seasonal outlooks and advice of nutrition, irrigation, pest and diseases and more
  • Provision of weekly reports on shipping volumes and conditions in export markets
  • Provision of production data via InfoCitrus during the season – see more and log in to the InfoCitrus database here
  • Delivery of the annual Citrus Tree Census – if you missed the key insights from the Citrus Tree Census 2016, find them here in the last edition of Hortlink or contact Citrus Australia about the full Census report
  • Work towards annual crop forecasts, plus fruit density and sizing surveys to help inform the industry of the quantity and quality of fruit
  • Delivery of training for registered crop monitors, who are responsible for surveying orchards for pests and diseases as part of the process of exporting to Korea, China and Thailand
  • Facilitation of the industry’s online export registration system
  • Participation in and facilitation of export, variety, agrichemical and domestic/quality leadership groups, as well as Japan, China and US exporter groups
  • Participation in relevant trade events.
Australian Citrus Quality Standards – stage 3 (CT15013)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Citrus Australia

What’s it all about? Established in 2011 and now in its third stage, the Australian Citrus Quality Standards program has a focus on improving and maintaining the eating quality of Australian citrus – ensuring fruit consistently meets or exceeds consumer expectations. The overarching goal is to increase consumption and ensure the price of Australian citrus is maximised.

Some of the key work in the project includes:

  • Developing and implementing procedures to improve quality, including the maximum granulation standard for Imperial mandarins to help restore consumer confidence
  • Capturing and disseminating maturity levels of fruit for sale in the wholesale market to inform marketing decisions
  • Increasing knowledge in the supply chain to achieve greater adoption of quality improvement practices
  • Developing a standard operating procedure for start of harvest that reduces the likelihood of immature fruit entering the supply chain.

What’s the latest update? While no official project update was due to Hort Innovation since the last edition of Hortlink, you can revisit results from the project’s 2016 season in an earlier edition here. An ‘end of season report card’ was also provided on p8 of the winter 2017 edition of Australian Citrus News, produced under the levy-funded industry communications project.

As reported in the last Hortlink, ongoing work in the project has included…

  • Continued development of a standard operating procedure for the start of harvest to ensure fruit quality, with ongoing grower consultation around this
  • Continuation of the project’s market testing and reporting program, with growers sent individual reports at the end of the season, and the collated data to be shared through industry channels
  • Continuation and expansion of the pre-season/pre-harvest testing and reporting program that was begun in 2016
  • Continued updating and maintenance of the citrus maturity calculator app for iPhone and Android devices.

Look for the latest project update in the next edition of Hortlink.


Download the visual guide to the maximum granulation standard for Imperial mandarins that has been produced by the project.

Citrus industry minor use program (CT16000)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Hort Innovation

What’s it all about? Through this project, levy funds and Australian Government contributions are used to renew and apply for new minor use permits for the citrus industry. These submissions are prepared and submitted to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

The minor use program is also supported by the project Generation of residue, efficacy and crop safety data for pesticide applications in horticulture crops 2017 (ST16006) which, as the name suggests, is responsible for generating data to support a range of permit applications for a range of industries. Project ST16006 uses grant funds from the Australian Government’s Agvet program, plus some levy contributions.

What’s the latest update? All current minor use permits for the industry are searchable at Permit updates are also circulated in Hort Innovation’s Growing Innovation e-newsletter, which levy-paying members receive monthly. Not a member? Sign up to our membership program for free here.

Citrus industry communications (CT15009)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Currie Communications

What’s it all about? This project delivers effective and timely communications to ensure Australian citrus growers and other industry stakeholders are kept up-to-date with the latest R&D and marketing activities, and other industry news and information. Among its key goals are to support decision-making within citrus businesses and to facilitate the uptake of new research and technologies, to ultimately strengthen the profitability and sustainability of the industry.

Its work is supported by the project Citrus Australia Limited – communication support on CT15009 (CT15015), which provides funding to Citrus Australia to facilitate work with the communication program’s external service provider.

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:

  • The quarterly national magazine, Australian Citrus News
  • Monthly Season Update newsletters
  • Fortnightly Citrus eNews e-newsletters
  • The industry website,

The project also produces industry media releases as required, maintains a photography database, and develops grower case studies for peer-to-peer learning.

Citrus Technical Forums (CT16700)

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Citrus Australia

What’s it all about? This project is responsible for the planning and delivery of the industry’s biennial Citrus Technical Forums, which are a chance for growers and other industry participants to come together to learn about the latest technological developments and updates on current R&D projects. The events combine presentations, workshops and field trips.

What’s the latest update? The next Citrus Technical Forum will be held in 2019. As reported in earlier Hortlinks, the 2017 Citrus Technical Forum and Field Day event was held back in March, but you can still access copies of the presentations that were given here and the autumn 2017 edition of Australian Citrus News provided a host of stories based on the presentations and field day learnings.

Other R&D projects of note… 
  • Horticulture trade intelligence reporting 2017-2019 (MT16011), which is responsible for providing easy-to-read and easy-to-act-upon trade performance information to Australia’s horticulture industry. Quarterly citrus reports are made available for download here, in the resources section of Hort Innovation’s Citrus Fund page.
  • Agrichemical residue monitoring program for Australian citrus exports – stage 2 (CT15016). Beginning in 2016, this project works to ensure exporters have effective residue risk-management strategies in place and continues, improves and expands on the Australian Citrus Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program (ACPRMP), which commenced in 2011. The ACPRMP involves the testing of Australian citrus for a range of chemical residues and potential contaminants, to ensure that citrus exporters meet regulatory requirements in domestic and international markets. The program is a collaborative arrangement between industry and the Australian Government, and citrus exporters and packing houses not already participating are encouraged to contact David Daniels at Citrus Australia, at
  • Protecting Australia’s citrus genetic material (CT15005), which continues to fund the long-term National Citrus Repository (NCR) program for publicly owned citrus varieties. It supports the maintenance and disease testing of foundation trees in the NCR and the disease testing of new Australian citrus selections entering the repository system. The NCR is an important part of an integrated biosecurity system designed to protect the health and economic viability of the Australian citrus industry. There are currently 118 publicly owned citrus clones housed by the NCR.
  • Building a genetic foundation for Australia’s citrus future through targeted breeding (CT15017), which began in late 2016. This project is employing breeding technologies and germplasm in an integrated program that will develop improved, quality varieties. There are three commercial trial sites that have been established during the course of 2017, with the sites containing a range of varieties from the project’s breeding lines, as well as a range of rootstocks. Look for further details in an upcoming edition of Hortlink.
  • SITplus: Developing and optimising production of a male-only, temperature-sensitive-lethal, strain of Qfly, B. tryoni (MT13059), which is developing a ‘temperature-sensitive lethal, male-selecting’ strain of Queensland fruit fly (Qfly). To put simply, the research will allow for male-only, sterile fruit flies to be bred in large numbers. It is one of the key projects in the broader strategic co-investment SITplus initiative that’s tackling the issue of Qfly. The male flies are to ultimately be released in growing regions of south-eastern Australian that are affected by Qfly. They will come to outnumber the wild male population in these areas and by mating with wild females – and limiting the opportunity for wild males to do so – they are intended to lead to the collapse of wild Qfly populations. The citrus industry is one of several involved in the project.



Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the citrus marketing levy into a range of activities to grow awareness and consumption, under the Hort Innovation Citrus Fund.

Spotlight on Japan

As reported in the last edition of Hortlink, the activity program for Japan started in May 2017, in partnership with Austrade and Citrus Australia. The major aim has been to raise awareness of Australian citrus by engaging Japanese trade customers – showcasing premium Australian citrus to hotels, restaurants, wholesalers and media.

Hort Innovation collaborated with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) to host a food service promotion at the Prince Hotels ‘Australia Fair’ in Tokyo and Osaka from September 9 to October 31, 2017. Citrus was a main focus during the opening ceremony and was included in e-newsletters to the Prince Hotel database.

For any questions relating to the Citrus Fund marketing activities, contact Hort Innovation Marketing Manager Dianne Phan at

Print page