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Get a taste of APAL’s variety evaluation program

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Just some of the new apple and pear varieties being evaluated by APAL.

APAL’s variety evaluation program (formerly APFIP) is yielding interesting results.

The evaluation includes an assessment of their unique qualities, effects of short term storage, and how the rootstocks and fruit fare in different growing regions.

Tom Frankcomb, Variety Development Manager

Tom Frankcomb, APAL Variety Development Manager, is leading the program, and working with variety owners to help evaluate their varieties, which have been drawn from European breeding programs, PREVAR, Australian breeding programs and North American breeding programs.

Samples of roughly 50 different varieties have been harvested and stored in Tasmania alone, with other sites set up in different Australian growing regions. They are predominantly apple varieties, with a smaller number of promising new pears. 

Variety evaluation is ongoing, but Tom will be presenting samples of some interesting pre-commercial PREVAR varieties at this year’s Fruit Growers Tasmania conference on May 26, as well as various upcoming APAL Future Orchards Orchard Walks. 

“We are looking for interesting prospects that may be able to develop into future varieties, if a market niche can be found for these new apples and pears,” Tom said.

Successful variety development and commercialisation is about more than ‘what grows where’ – it must also tie in with what consumers want. A potential market niche would not be limited to the space on Australian supermarket shelves, either – new export markets are vital to the continued growth of industry. 

Export opportunities, retail trends and brand management will be key topics at this year’s APAL Industry Forum.

Register now and learn more about the future of apples and pears.

Further reading

Regional rootstock trial site planting to get underway in 2022

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