Finally, faster and healthier avocado propagation is becoming a reality for Australian growers. A research project is striving to increase the number of avocado trees that could be propagated from one single shoot.
The University of Queensland's Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) have been working on avocado tissue culture propagation as part of a joint Queensland Government and industry funded project. A test of the project has been taking place in Bundaberg, Qld and is nearing commercialisation.
Lead researcher Professor Neena Mitter said the technique was currently on trial at a number of sites including Donovan Family Farms in Childers: "Rather than the normal propagation technique of creating one plant from one cutting or one plant from one seed, this new technology allows 500 clonal plants from a single shoot-tip in culture within 8 to 12 months. The end goal is to create a tool that allows farmers to have the rootstock variety they want, in the numbers they want, when they want it."
Mr Donovan told queenslandcountrylife.com.au that the technology would work to reduce both the cost and the timeframe from ordering trees to planting. "This has in the past been a delay of two to three years," he said. “ The biggest advantage for us is to be able to get overseas rootstocks and varieties quickly into production. Traditionally if a new variety came out overseas it would be around 10 years or longer to get the trees imported, several years in quarantine and then grown out here to get budwood to start the commercialisation."
He said with the new technology, his farm could bring in tissue culture material to propagate and multiply so commercial plantings of new varieties would be available in as little as 18 months.