The importance of Almond breeding
Being able to produce consistently high quality almonds is essential in maintaining the reputation and competitiveness of Australian Almond growers in the global market. Having access to new planting material with desirable marketing qualities will assist growers in coping with seasonal challenges such as climate change; reduced reliance on chemical inputs for pest and disease control; and increased pollination efficiency. Australian almond growers are keen to find new varieties as an alternative to the industry mainstay Nonpareil. From 2016 to 2019 new varieties accounted for 1,709 hectares or 12.5% of the 13,702 hectares planted. This uptake has been aided by the commercialisation of six new varieties through the Australian almond breeding program.
AL17005: National almond breeding and evaluation program
The Almond Breeding and Evaluation Program has been funded by grower levy investments since 1997. The current ‘National almond breeding and evaluation program’ is funded through Hort Innovation with contributions from the Australian Research Council. The project is guided by the ABA Plant Improvement Committee with representation from growers, the ABA, Hort Innovation and project staff. The aim of the project is to develop varieties with improved qualities such as high yielding, self-fertility, closed shell protection from pests and disease and easy to manage tree structure while maintaining the look and taste of Nonpareil.
There have been six varieties commercilised through the Australian Almond breeding project. Further information is provided for each variety on the pomological traits (e.g. growth habit), commercial traits, current industry position and global assessment.
We wish to thank Michelle Wirthensohn (Plant Breeder, The University of Adelaide), Jana Kolesik (Lab Technician, University of Adelaide) Scott McKenzie (Technical Operations Manager, Century Orchards), Brett Rosenzweig (Grower/ ABA Plant Improvement Committee member), Tony Speirs (Director, Lindsay Point Almonds) for their contribution to the videos for Carina, Maxima and Mira.