Solid citrus foundations

30 Apr 2018

Dr Tahir Khurshid

New growing areas, accelerated fruit size and increased yields are on the horizon for local citrus growers with the introduction of promising new imported rootstocks.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) researcher, Tahir Khurshid, said an overwhelming response from citrus growers across Australia has seen 16 orchards selected to participate in on-farm research trials of newly released Chinese rootstocks.

“Growers from NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia are now growing valencias, navels and mandarins on the new rootstocks,” Dr Khurshid said.

“Nine NSW sites were established at the end of last year in Gunnedah, Moree, Griffith Leeton, Dareton and Buronga to test performance in commercial trials.

“Our major objective is to test the rootstocks’ performance on a variety of soils types and in different climatic conditions.”

Researchers will collect horticultural performance data to compare the new rootstocks with Tri22, the standard Australian trifoliata rootstock and Troyer citrange.

Tree growth rates, height, canopy diameter, trunk circumference, grafting compatibility, graft union and tree health will be assessed.

Once trees bear fruit, yield and fruit quality, including rind texture, juice content, soluble solids and acidity, will be measured.

Dr Khurshid said the new rootstocks have the potential to drive future citrus industry development.

“Rootstocks are a major influence on the profitability of citrus orchards,” he said.

“Their impact on fruit size, yield and yield efficiency is critical and will play a significant role in meeting demand from domestic and export markets.

“Buyers have shown a distinct preference for larger fruit, particularly navels, in recent years.”

This project aims to evaluate and push the commercialisation of new rootstocks as part of the National Citrus Rootstock Improvement Program.

The grower trials have been funded by Hort Innovation, using citrus industry levies and funds from the Australian Government.

Photographs available from

Media contact: Bernadette York (02) 6938 1664, 0427 773 785