Plant & Food Research develops new apple and pear cultivars that excite consumers and provide added benefits to producers.

The key targets for our apple breeding programme are new cultivars with crisp texture, high flavour, long storage and shelf life, novel skin and flesh colour, optimal harvest maturity and pest and disease resistance.

Our pear breeding programme is developing new cultivars with crisp, juicy texture, high flavour, red skin colour and resistance to fire blight.

Our genomics research has identified a number of molecular markers for key traits such as red flesh, as well as resistance to scab, powdery mildew and aphids. These markers allow us to identify individuals in our germplasm collection with these traits for use as parents in the breeding programme, and to select resulting progeny that possess the right combination of these traits.

We have a proven track record in developing pipfruit cultivars that have succeeded in global markets:

  • ‘Scifresh’ apple, known as JAZZ™ brand, marketed by ENZA and planted across New Zealand and Australia, Europe, the USA and South America
  • ‘Scilate’ apple, marketed by ENZA under the ENVY™ brand, with high flavour, high juice content and slow flesh-browning time
  • Pacific series apples, including sweet Pacific Rose™ (‘Sciros’) and Pacific Queen™ (‘Scired’).

New cultivars developed in our pipfruit breeding programme are available exclusively through Prevar™ Limited.

We are also breeding novel apple rootstocks, combining dwarfing traits with a range of other agronomic traits including resistance to a range of pests and diseases, such as Phytophthora, woolly aphid and fire blight.