Bravo for black beauty
The arrival of WA’s stunning new apple, Bravo, on shop shelves is the culmination of more than two decades of research and development by the Department of Agriculture and Food.
Bravo is the result of conventional breeding by department researchers, starting with crossing and selection at Stoneville before moving to the Manjimup Horticulture Research Institute.
The premium fruit is produced from the variety ANABP 01 and has to meet strict quality specifications to be sold as a Bravo apple.
The ANABP 01 variety is a cross between Royal Gala and the well-known Western Australian variety Cripps Red. Apples from Cripps Red are marketed as Sundowner.
Department Horticulture Industry Development Director David Windsor said the variety had proved to be a good performer in the field for growers.
“The variety has been eagerly taken up by growers in the Perth Hills, Manjimup, Donnybrook and in the eastern states, encouraged by its high yields, stunning appearance and easy management,” he said.
“The fruit matures very consistently, which makes harvesting simpler and a lot less costly.”
Dr Windsor paid tribute to the scientists involved in the development of the apple.
“The first cross was made by the breeding team led by John Cripps in the 1990s, which also developed the Cripps Pink variety, better known as the Pink Lady apple,” he said.
“The breeding team has worked very hard over the subsequent years to bring Bravo apples to market. This work has involved rigorous evaluation of the variety on both research stations and commercial farms.
“The result is a well-balanced eating apple, with a striking burgundy appearance and comfortable size.”
Fruit West Co-operative Ltd is managing the commercialisation of the variety in Australia.
“We hope that like other varieties developed by the department, such as Cripps Red and Cripps Pink, this new apple will become internationally successful,” Dr Windsor said.
The variety was developed with support from Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd as a part of the Australian National Apple Breeding Program.
Department researchers are continuing work on several new potential apple varieties as a part of the national program.
“It takes about 20 years for a new apple to be developed, from crossing lines in a laboratory, to Stage One comparison of new lines, to Stage Two testing on commercial root stock and then Stage Three evaluation in growers’ orchards across WA and in the eastern states,” Dr Windsor said.
“It really is a rigorous process of elimination and survival of the fittest lines.”
WA has about a 10 per cent share of national apple production, which was valued at $42 million in 2013-14.
Picture caption: Department of Agriculture and Food, WA officers Fucheng Shan (left), John Sutton, Steele Jacob and Kevin Lacey all worked on the development of the Bravo™ apple, which recently arrived in selected shops.
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