$1M investment to find new citrus varieties

HORT INNOVATION WILL INVEST nearly $1M to assess new citrus varieties that are suited to Australian growing conditions.

Funded by Hort Innovation's citrus levy, the $987,000 project will provide independent assessment of the horticultural performance of new citrus varieties under Australian conditions, as well as testing citrus varieties for 'trueness-to-type'. The assessments will take place in Dareton in New South Wales, as well as in Western Australia.

Hort Innovation Chief Executive Officer Brett Fifield said the project will build on previous citrus variety projects, with the aim of measuring tree attributes that are desirable for Australian growers and consumers both domestically and overseas.

"Independent assessment of new citrus varieties - under Australian conditions - means growers will be able to identify new varieties that might suit their production regions. It will also help growers be aware of key consumer and production traits of the varieties," Mr Fifield said.

"As part of the assessments we're looking at fruit quality, tree yield and fruit size and sweetness, as well as assessing any issues producers might need to consider when growing the trees."

Chair of Citrus Australia Richard Byllaardt said the research was an important investment in the future of the Australian Citrus industry.

"Cultivating citrus varieties that are suited to Australian conditions ensures our growers are getting the most out of the trees they've planted. With the right varieties, we have the potential to both reduce input costs and maximise yields," Mr Byllaardt said.

"In turn this means better returns for growers, better products for consumers, and a more resilient citrus industry overall."

The new project will build on the success of previous research in this area, and it will continue to benefit from valuable input from the Australian citrus industry along the way.

The new project is part of a suite of investments for the Australian citrus industry focused on variety and rootstock evaluation and breeding, that also complements biosecurity-related projects to protect the citrus production base in Australia.

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