First fruit from new varieties and citrus variety evaluation research continues: March 2018

Dr Dave Monks (NSW DPI variety research officer)

The NSW DPI will continue to deliver its variety evaluation work at Dareton after signing a 5-year agreement with Horticulture Innovation Australia. Considerable support for the program has reinforced its importance to the citrus industry. Both newly imported citrus varieties released from quarantine and new domestic varieties placed into a research program will be included. This research program will be managed by Dave Monks, Research Horticulturist with NSW DPI.

All the varieties are brought together for independent, third party evaluation. This year saw 10 new varieties top-worked to Valencia on a range of rootstocks to sit alongside the 41 varieties already established in the field. Some of these new varieties are already bearing fruit to commence the assessment process. These varieties are:

  • Valencia: Midknight 115-1717, Ruby, Weipe, Mclean, Lavalle and Benny
  • Grapefruit: Star Ruby (early and late varieties) and Jackson
  • Navel: Witkrans, Rayno and Glen Ora
  • Mandarin: USDA 88-2, Sonet and CSIRO 91-03-04

Note: all varieties listed above are from Variety Access except for CSIRO 91-03-04 which is managed by CSIRO.

If you are interested in seeing any of the varieties listed above, or other privately owned varieties, contact the variety manager and make an appointment to come to the Dareton Primary Industries Institute. A list of variety managers and a variety maturity chart is in the NSW DPI Citrus plant protection and management guide which is available from the NSW DPI website. Juice quality and yield data is available on all varieties that have produced fruit to date.

A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald highlighted the prominence that the NSW DPI's Citrus evaluation program has in the minds of industry leaders. Sunraysia citrus grower, Richard Mills, visited the Dareton Institute to see the range of blood oranges currently available as well as future varieties currently growing. As a result of this visit, he made a 1500-tree decision for his Trentham Cliffs property in the far west.