The variety 0019E2, a potential replacement for Octavia given its long, late harvest period, "has had the best feedback we have had from any project I have been involved with", she said.
Boasting "huge" fruit, it is being trialled on seven sites, including in Spain, with five growers rating it as superior to the control. Plants will be available commercially next season from RW Walpole.
The recently commercialised Glen Ericht "will withstand Phytophthora, can be harvested by machine, but it's very acid, so not suitable for fresh", while Glen Fyne "has been more productive than Glen Ample, and competes with Tulameen on flavour".
Traditionally a breeder only of floricane varieties, the institute is now investigating primocane-floricane hybrids. A marker has been identified for Phytophthora root rot resistance and the apparent association of hairy stems with tolerance to Botrytis and spur blight means this gene can be selected for by feel, with no screening required, added Jennings.