On Monday 4 April, around 40 people from across Australia and the world were in Stanthorpe, Queensland, to see, taste and learn about the new Queensland-bred apple called Kalei.
“Kalei has attracted global interest because it is resistant to one of the world’s most problematic apple diseases called apple scab,” explains Garry Langford, who is managing the commercialisation of Kalei with Apple and Pear Australia Ltd (APAL).
“Moreover, Kalei has a lovely sweet taste, stays fresher for longer and has a rich pinkish-burgundy colour when ripe that makes it very attractive.”
Bred by a team of researchers at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Kalei has been about 20 years in the making. In 2012 APAL was granted the licence to commercialise it.
“We now have around 15 growers across Australia – including Stanthorpe – who are on their way to growing commercial quantities of Kalei,” says Garry. “APAL has also tapped into our global network of apple variety developers and nurseries that we have established through our Pink Lady® business to help promote Kalei worldwide.”
APAL manages the Pink Lady brand of apples across more than 80 territories that has led to Pink Lady becoming the world’s number one premium apple brand. Companies from France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, New Zealand and the USA attended the Kalei apple field day in Stanthorpe – Queensland’s only apple-growing region – to see the trees growing in the orchard and learn more about their growing requirements.
To help orchardists get the best results from their Kalei trees, DAF have developed a Growing Guide for Kalei that was shared with field day attendees.
DAF’s Simon Middleton says that the orchard of Kalei trees at the Applethorpe Research Station are consistently yielding around 80 tonnes per hectare – the average yield for Australian orchards across all varieties is around 40 tonnes per hectare.
“Kalei trees are very productive, easy to manage and can produce large apples,” says Simon. “It is resistant to apple scab or black spot, and it also appears to be tolerant of another disease called Alternaria – a real benefit for orchardists.”
Queensland apple grower Daniel Nicoletti has planted about two hectares of the Kalei and has found it is an easy tree to grow.
“I’m hoping Kalei will become a well-known mainstream variety and hopefully consumers will take it up and it will be very successful,” says Daniel.
Kalei apples are expected to be available to Australian consumers in September and October this year – stay tuned via the Kalei apple website www.kaleiapples.com.au.
Australian growers interested in getting some Kalei trees can contact Garry Langford on 03 6266 4344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sophie Clayton, Communications Manager, APAL
03 9999 2701 | 0478 029 040 | email@example.com
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