It took a Rifle to get into the market
By Adam Thomas, Syngenta Field Biology Manager
T411653, or ‘Rifle’ as it is now affectionately known as, first entered Australia in 2013, selected out of Syngenta’s tomato breeder Sylvain Bontems development program from Sarrians, France and was trialled in Queensland along with 64 other new gourmet hybrid tomato varieties.
We looked at ten plants of Rifle per trial and subsequently the variety was selected and advanced to be trialled again in 2014 to determine consistency of performance and what region and seasonal timeframes the variety is best suited to.
With good trial results in 2014, Rifle was again promoted and further seed was required to continue an up scaled trial program for 2015. An unfortunate seed production failure meant we could only manage small plot trials throughout 2015 until additional seed could be available again in 2016.
Fast forward to 2016, and the autumn and winter trialling seasons are now complete in Bundaberg and Bowen.
Picture taken of the first 10,000 plant CD trial of Rifle on Trevor Cross’ farm in Bundaberg Qld.
Performing under pressure
Bowen has had one of the wettest autumn-winter growing cycles since 1994 - putting pressure on variety performance and growers to supply high fruit quality into the market.
With the assistance of our local Territory Sales Representative, Sarah Iddles, the first two trials of Rifle were evaluated and they proved that even under higher than average pressure Rifle was performing. Impressively, it has stood up against the long-time market standard variety that is recognised as one of the best varieties to handle Queensland’s weather conditions and has dominated this space for over two decades.
With two more spring trial evaluations to come we are hoping for good weather and a strong finish.
A beautiful full truss of Rifle fruit taken from the first 2016 trial in Bowen.
Rifle is a good consistent performer across all growing cycles with a ‘globe’ fruit shape averaging between 160 -180 g fruit weight which fits perfectly to what the market requires.
With an excellent disease package, high yields, good uniformity, fruit firmness and tolerance to the weather pressures experienced when grown in beautiful tropical Queensland, Rifle is poised to give growers confidence in meeting market requirements.
Picture taken from one of the first trials in Bowen 2016 displaying Rifle’s ability of high yields and quality fruit set to the top wire.