Eurosemillas is the worldwide master licensee and will lead the variety’s rollout under the Green Motion platform
The University of California (UCR) is to release a new high density avocado scion cultivar. BL516, which will be marketed as Luna UCR and is pending plant variety protection in the US, officially comes out in June and is the programme’s second release in the last 20 years.
Eurosemillas, who partnered with UCR in 2020 to deliver a new generation of avocados to market, holds the worldwide master license and lead the variety’s rollout under Green Motion, the international platform it set up with Mission Produce for the advancement of the global avocado industry. This is the first scion cultivar to be released under the Eurosemillas/UCR partnership.
UCR’s avocado scion breeding programme began in the 1950s and maintains one of the largest avocado germplasm collections in the world. UCR has patented and released eight new scion varieties since the 1980’, most notably, Gem in 2003 and Lamb Hass in 1996.
With its slender upright growth habit, BL516 offers growers a next generation tree better adapted to the increasingly popular high-density plantings. It is a B flower type so it can serve as a polliniser variety for Hass, Gem and other type A flower varieties.
According to Dr Mary Lu Arpaia, professor of extension, subtropical horticulture at UCR, the new cultivar matures slightly later than Hass and like that variety, the fruit turns from an emerald green to glossy black as it ripens, in line with current consumer preferences.
Support for UCR’s avocado scion breeding programme from the California avocado industry via the California Avocado Commission (CAC) dates to the 1950s and has provided millions of dollars in the scion breeding efforts.
With this in mind, California growers will receive a reduction in royalties paid for planting and production of BL516, giving them an advantage over international avocado growers. Furthermore, all eligible California growers will be granted a sublicense upon request and agreement of a sublicense from Eurosemillas, ensuring widespread availability of BL516 within the State.
Eurosemillas will host an in-person meeting on Tuesday, 20 June at the University of California Cooperative Extension facility in Ventura, California, where industry professionals can learn first-hand of the potential of BL516 as a polliniser variety and a new cultivar better adapted to high density plantings.
Looking ahead, UCR said its avocado breeding programme remains committed to pushing the boundaries of innovation. With ongoing research efforts and the Green Motion platform, UCR aims to streamline the commercialisation process for its avocados, ensuring that future varieties continue to captivate markets and consumers alike.
“We are thrilled to introduce the BL516 variety, which showcases the direction of our programme and the immense potential it holds for the avocado industry,” said Arpaia.