Berry export strategy (MT17001)
Status: New project
Key research provider: Auspex Strategic Advisory
What’s it all about? Contracted by Hort Innovation in November, this short project is for and funded by both the raspberry and blackberry and strawberry industries. It will be responsible for identifying, sizing and addressing opportunities for the industries in international markets, through the development of an export strategy. Work in this space is intended to build or rebuild export capabilities, drive export growth, and position the industries to grow demand in export markets.
What’s the latest update? With work on the strategy now underway, look for an update early in 2018.
Building resilience to drupelet disorder on rubus (RB14003)
Status: Ongoing project
Key research provider: Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
What’s it all about? Established in 2015 and due to conclude during 2018, this project is identifying contributing causes to red drupelet disorder in blackberries, and looking at improved management practices pre, post and during harvest that might reduce its incidence.
What’s the latest update? With the project in its third and final season of field and laboratory trials, the project team are continuing to collect data and observations around…
- The physical and chemical changes within fruit affected by red drupelet disorder (including changes to the structure of cells, pH and acidity changes, and chemical profiles within the fruit), to better understand the underlying physiology of the disorder. To date, some key mechanisms of the disorder have been identified, including cell membrane damage resulting in the degradation of the pigment anthocyanin.
- The factors during harvest and storage that play a role in the disorder. Initial results confirm a significant interaction between harvest temperature and susceptibility to mechanical damage, which is in turn a factor in red drupelet disorder. The project has also indicated storage temperature and post-harvest physical damage can play significant roles. With storage temperature, the latest results suggest the rate of cooling can impact on the development of drupelet disorder, with fruit that underwent a ‘step-cooling’ treatment showing significantly reduced rates of the disorder, compared to fruit that was rapidly cooled after harvest.
- The role of nitrogen fertilisation in the expression of the disorder, with initial results suggesting excess nitrogen can produce higher rates of red drupelet disorder (though affected fruit did not appear significantly different, chemically or physically).
Download this fact sheet on managing red drupelet disorder, which was presented at the 2017 Fruit Growers Tasmania conference and provides an overview of project findings through the first two seasons. The sheet will be updated and distributed to industry when the final outcomes of the project are available.
Rubus industry minor use program (RB16000)
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 raspberry and blackberry industry. These submissions are prepared and submitted to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
What’s the latest update? All current minor use permits for the industry are searchable at portal.apvma.gov.au/permits. 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.
Other R&D projects of note…
- Enhanced National Bee Pest Surveillance Program (MT16005), which is delivering a nationally coordinated bee-pest surveillance program to help safeguard honey-bee and pollinator-dependent industries in Australia. It builds upon the previous National Bee Pest Surveillance Program (MT12011), and includes upgrading sentinel hive arrays, strengthening relationships with surveillance operators, the introduction of new elements such as Asian hornet screening and more. The surveillance is designed to enable the early detection of high-priority pest incursions that can impact on honey bees, providing the best opportunity for successful pest eradication. The raspberry and blackberry industry is one of several contributors to the project’s work.