The varietal profile of Australia’s almond crop is expected to broaden, thanks to a multi-million dollar investment in the country’s breeding programmes, according to the ABC.
Horticulture Australia and the Australian Government have granted A$2.35m (US$2.26m) to the Australian Almond Breeding Program, to hasten the release of higher yielding, self pollinating varieties to growers.
While the Australian industry is tipped to overtake Spain as the world’s second largest almond produce this year, it currently relies on only three cultivars, which all require bees to assist with the pollination process.
The program's leader Dr Michelle Wirthensohn said the new varieties would ensure more consistent yields when they become available to growers in 2016.
“The funding is a continuation of the almond breeding program, which has been running at the University of Adelaide Waite Campus since 1997,” Wirthensohn told the ABC.
“Almonds aren't self-fertile and they need cross-pollination to set fruit.
“If we had a self-fertile almond, it wouldn't negate the bees altogether, but it makes the almond growers a little less reliant on them.”