The dried tree fruit industry’s levy is currently invested in a multi-industry project. Multi-industry projects are carried out for the benefit of more than one industry and, as such, have funding from a combination of industries/sources, along with Australian Government contributions.
Selecting and releasing to industry high quality fresh and dried Australian apricots for export and domestic markets (MT12015)
Status: Ongoing project
Key research provider: Dried Fruits Australia
What’s it all about? This project is responsible for developing new apricot varieties that are locally adapted, through a partnership with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) National Apricot Breeding Program. This is a multi-industry project that is funded by the dried tree fruit levy, co-contribution from within the summerfruit industry, and Australian Government support.
What’s the latest update? The project continues to select and evaluate the remaining seedlings from the National Apricot Breeding Program, working towards the commercialisation of the best lines.
For the dried tree fruit industry, this means the delivery of consistent high-cropping varieties of easily handled and processed apricot. The project is aiming for fruit with high total soluble solids (TSS) levels and low dry ratios, to produce a high-quality, attractive dried product in the traditional Australian half-cut style.
As the project has progressed, the lines under commercial consideration have been whittled down, with 15 lines progressing into the 2017/18 season based on production advantages. There are a range of evaluations taking place through the project, including grower trials, drying trials, consumer testing and more.
As reported in the last edition of Hortlink, fruit from the 2016/17 season was entered into drying trials to look at drying ratio, quality and storage ability. Assessment will be ongoing here, with the results of storage trials possibly taking up to two years to come through, as the fruit darkens naturally and heads towards unacceptable quality under the standardised storage conditions of 65 per cent humidity at 25°C.
During the winter of 2017, five consumer sensory panels were performed to compare new dried fruit samples to the industry standard Moorpark. Early analysis of the results has suggested most were comparable to, if not better than, Moorpark in overall liking by consumers.
Look for updates in future editions of Hortlink, and to see what’s happening on the fresh apricot side of things, head to the Summerfruit Fund Hortlink page.