Leading the charge
Minister praises Applethorpe researchers
THE Applethorpe Research Facility is at the forefront of industry innovation, according to a key voice.
Visiting town earlier in the week, Queensland’s Agriculture Minister Mark Furner was quick to praise the facility for leading the way across several areas.
From strawberry breeding programs, apple development, creating new grapes to tackling the Murray Darling Basin program, Mr Furner said the team at Applethorpe were working wonders.
More broadly, Queensland’s $3 billion fruit and vegetable production industry had benefited from research being conducted at the site.
“Researchers are involved in important projects to support and enhance Queensland’s well-earned reputation for producing some of the world’s safest produce,” Mr Furner said.
“The Applethorpe Research Facility is the hub of research activity for a $16.6 million five-year project to improve the resilience of crops against viral and bacterial diseases.”
Mr Furner said Applethorpe was also renowned for the development of the disease-resistant Kalei apple.
“The Kalei is currently being commercialised by Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL), the same company looking after Pink Lady on a global scale.
“In addition, our strawberry breeding team has just commenced a new five-year $8.6 million dollar National Strawberry Varietal Development Program,” the Minister said.
Justin Heaven, from the facility, said it was always nice to get a pat on the back for work being done on the Granite Belt.
“It’s good to profile the research station. There’s a lot of work that’s done that’s not necessarily directly impacting this area but it is good to highlight the work the researchers do.
“We’ve got such a wide spread of products and work and area. People here work across different areas in Queensland and a lot of people probably don’t realise that,” he said.
The facility staff have also played an instrumental role in enabling the formation of the the new Granite Belt Growers Group.
TOP OF THEIR GAME: Justin Heaven, Heidi Parkes, Mark Harris, Peter Nimmo and David Oag from the Applethorpe Research Facility.