Breeding New Cultivars for the Australian Macadamia Industry

in HortScience

In 2017, five new cultivars specifically selected for Australian conditions were released. These were developed from an improvement program initiated by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in the early 1990s. Progeny seeds were produced by crossing industry standard cultivars with other cultivars with elite kernel production per unit projected canopy area. Seedlings were planted at two densities (2 m and 4 m along rows) in field trials at Bundaberg in 1997 and 1998, and Northern New South Wales in late 1997, along with replicated plants of parents grafted onto seedling rootstocks. Trials were assessed for commencement of flowering, growth, yield, kernel recovery, and components of kernel quality over 8 years. Best linear unbiased predictions of clonal values were obtained for each individual progeny using a pedigree-based mixed linear model. A bio-economic model was used to estimate economic weights for a selection index of clonal values to identify elite candidates. Final approval of 20 candidates for second-stage assessment was made by an industry committee using selection index rankings and observations of tree field performance and kernel quality.

Contributor Notes

The Australian Macadamia Breeding Program was supported through funding from the Australian Federal Government and levies contributed by the Australian macadamia industry through the Horticulture Research and Development Corporation and Horticulture Australia Limited, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, and the Queensland and New South Wales State Governments. Craig Hardner was jointly supported by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the University of Queensland, and Horticulture innovation Australia using funds from the macadamia industry and the Australian Government. João Costa e Silva is currently financially supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia I.P. (FCT), Portugal, through the Programa Operacional Potencial Humano and the European Social Fund. The Centro de Estudos Florestais is a research unit funded by the FCT [UID/AGR/00239/2013]. These financial supports are gratefully acknowledged.

This paper was presented as a part of the 2017 International Macadamia Research Symposium, 13–14 Sept. 2017, held in Big Island, HI.

Current address for Craig Hardner: University of Queensland, QAAFI, St. Lucia Queensland 4072, Australia.

Current address for João Costa e Silva: Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada daAjuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal.

Current address for Noel Meyers: School of Education, College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Commerce, La Trobe University, Bendigo Victoria 3552, Australia.

Current address for Cameron McConchie: Department of Primary Industry and Resources, Northern Territory Government, Berrimah Agricultural Laboratories, Berrimah Farm, Darwin Northern Territory 0801.

Corresponding author. E-mail: c.hardner@uq.edu.au.

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    Back-transformed (for details of transformation for analysis, see Table 3) estimated mean yield at four ages (5, 6, 7, and 8 years), two sites (B = Bundaberg, T = Alstonville) planted at two densities (2 m and 4 m along a planting row). Note that yield at age 7 years at Alstonville was missing the third harvest.

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    Frequency distribution of selection index values (H) of progeny in comparison with the mean of the cultivars evaluated in the trials, and the threshold index value for the top 40, 20, and 5 progeny individuals.

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