Tasmanian Raspberry Canes, owned by Simon and Carolyn Curtis and situated at Wesley Vale in northwestern Tasmania, produces bare-rooted raspberry canes for retail, wholesale nurseries, and commercial growers.
Business Profile: Parvinder Lalli, NSW – growing blueberries, blackberries & raspberries
This article summarises the findings of research published in The American Phytopathological Society Journal of Plant Disease in September 2022: Onofre, B., Gadoury, D., Stensvand, A., Bierman, A., Rea, M., and Peres, N. (2022), UV-Transmitting plastics reduce powdery mildew in strawberry tunnel production, Plant Disease 106:2455-2461, The American Phytopathological Society.
The productivity of strawberry is dependent on the supply of high-quality nursery plants. The effect of runner characteristics on the yields of plants in south-east Queensland was investigated. Yields were best with a planting from mid- to late March for ‘Festival’ and from early to mid-April for ‘Fortuna’. Research in north America suggests that the best yields occur when the runners are exposed to significant chilling in the nurseries. Experiments are required to determine if the temperature models developed in America can predict yield and runner quality in Australia.
Key data about Red Leaf Disorder has been collected on farms across SEQ for the last 3 seasons (2020-2021-2022). There are significant differences in the incidence of RLD between varieties. Further research is required to explore other potential contributing factors including soil types, fumigant usage and runner production systems.
Singaporean company Polybee is investigating the use of miniature drones to pollinate crops grown in greenhouses and polytunnels as part of a Hort Innovation project looking at alternatives to honey bee pollination. The team from Polybee has been trialling their technology in collaboration with Perfection Fresh in South Australia and Western Sydney University, and were recently in Victoria to see how strawberries are grown in protected cropping systems.
The VSIDC are currently funding research by VSICA Research to develop tests for measuring fumigants in soil so that growers know when it is safe to plant their crops. Researchers are testing two different technologies (photoionisation detectors and colorimetric tubes) that instantaneously detect fumigants in soil. The use of these technologies in field surveys has already prevented growers from planting into soil containing fumigant residues at 15 sites. The project has established a field trial in the industry that is evaluating the tolerance of different strawberry varieties to the presence of fumigant residues in soil. Preliminary results showed strong correlations between the concentration of fumigants in soil and growth inhibition in lettuce as an indicator plant. If results continue to show success it is anticipated the technologies will be developed as a product or service to growers in Victoria.
High quality runners, free of disease, are key to a successful final product. Underpinning the success and viability of the Australian strawberry industry is a certification and inspection program that supports production of high-quality high-health runners. With increasing climatic variation, as well as the phasing out of methyl bromide for fumigation, the Australian strawberry industry may see the emergence of new serious pathogens. Starting with certified planting stock will help the strawberry industry to limit the impact of emerging and re-emerging pests and disease.
On 26 July 2023, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland hosted a field day for subtropical growers and industry stakeholders at the Maroochy Research Facility in Nambour to provide an opportunity for growers to meet with researchers and better understand the processes behind the Australian Strawberry Breeding Program (ASBP) project.
In Australia, invasive European blackberry consists of a complex of around 18 recognised species and a range of hybrids, which collectively are amalgamated into Rubus fruticosus sp. agg. European blackberry is one of Australia’s worst environmental and agricultural weeds where substantial losses of biodiversity and production occur.