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National Strawberry Varietal Improvement Program

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Herrington, M. (2018) National Strawberry Varietal Improvement Program. Project Report. Horticulture Australia.


Article Link: https://www.horticulture.com.au/growers/help-your-...


The Australian strawberry industry has an estimated farm gate value of $420 million, with approximately 200 commercial producers and 60 opportunistic producers (Hort Innovation, 2017). For the national industry to remain profitable the ongoing development and availability of improved strawberry varieties is required. Opportunities exist for locally adapted varieties with superior production and consumer traits.
This project (BS12021) was initially established in 2013 to develop and commercially release superior strawberry varieties adapted for production in subtropical climatic regions in Australia. In 2015 the scope of the project was expanded to additionally include the development of improved strawberry varieties for Australian temperate and Mediterranean production regions. As part of this expansion we began management of the existing Victorian Strawberry Breeding Program at this time. Individual breeding targets for each production region were defined in consultation with local industry in each area with an overall goal of supporting a sustainable and profitable national strawberry industry. Traits included, among other targets, developing varieties with improved resistance to the crown wilt diseases Macrophomina phaseolina (charcoal rot), Colletotrichum gloeosporioides and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. fragariae. The general breeding strategy built upon the successful pipeline developed in the previous iteration of the project (BS09013) and was further enhanced by the incorporation of quantitative genetic analysis and economic modelling of fruit and plant traits to guide crossing and selection decisions.
The project developed and positioned for commercialisation 12 new strawberry varieties, locally adapted to Australia’s growing regions and satisfying Australian consumer expectations. These included six varieties targeted for subtropical production: ‘Red Rhapsody’, ‘Parisienne Kiss’, ‘Sundrench’, ‘Scarlet Rose-ASBP’, ‘Sunglow ASBP’, ‘Meadowsong’, and ‘Venus-ASBP’; two varieties targeted for temperate production: ‘Summer Song’, and ‘Scarletsilk’; and three varieties targeted for Mediterranean production: ‘Rosalie-ASBP’, ‘Jubilee-ASBP’, and ‘Fanfare- ASBP’. Sixteen peer reviewed journal articles were published, along with four conference posters and eight publications in the national strawberry industry magazine Simply Red. Eighteen presentations were delivered at conferences, industry meetings and field days, and four breeding trial tours given. The project was also covered extensively in the media following the official release and outstanding success of its variety ‘Red Rhapsody’.
In 2017, varieties from the Australian Strawberry Breeding Program (ASBP) captured 44% of the subtropical market, and 19% of the national market. These plantings had a farm gate value of approximately $78 million and contributed ~2700 jobs in production. Indications from runner growers suggest that 2018 sales of ASBP varieties will be substantially higher than 2017 levels.
Based on current industry and marketing trends, it is recommended that key directions for future breeding should include varieties for alternative production systems, specifically substrate culture and protected cropping, as well as higher value varieties for product diversification e.g. different fruit colours and flavours. Additionally, DNA based breeding tools such as marker assisted selection represent a significant opportunity that should be incorporated into future strawberry breeding programs.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Keywords:Final report Fragaria ×ananassa, breeding, disease resistance, Australia, temperate, subtropical, Mediterranean
Subjects:Science > Botany > Genetics
Plant culture > Food crops
Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture
Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture > Berries and small fruits
Live Archive:19 Feb 2019 03:39
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:44

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