Today we share the outstanding performance of ARRA Passion Fire™ (ARRA 29)  in Australia. In addition, we bring you updates and highlights from the ARRA Field day held by Fruitmaster in the Sunraysia region, far North- West Victoria.

As we know the weather in Australia is not stable and varies to extreme degrees with dramatic changes sometimes occurring daily, which makes it very difficult to find the ideal suitable growing guidelines. Grapa has led frequent seminars for the agents and growers.

This season, by implementing the ARRA growing protocol, we achieved great success working closely with both Agents, FruitMaster and Romeo’s Best as well as Wurlin’s Farms, licensee in Emerald. 

Uzi Yaron, Grapa R&D Director, highlights: ”For us, it was enlightening as we learned along the way the needs of the local environment in order to find the most suitable solutions to suit the Australian producers and we believe that we brought benefits to the growers as well as greatly improving the quality of the crop”.

Cavallo Fruit is located in the region of Sunraysia in the far North-West Victoria and Tony reports: “This is our first harvest in full production of the ARRA 29 as well as ARRA 30. We are very pleased with the color, taste, berry size, crunchiness and uniform bunches.”

Tony Cavallo in his ARRA 29 vineyards. Tony followed the guidelines provided and produced a good crop.

Tony adds:” We had a great growing season so it’s pleasing to see a good crop come off both the red and white varieties. We had some heavy rain over the weekend and we were pleased that the grapes held up well with the bad weather and there were no ringing or split berries”.

Cavallo Fruit's ARRA 29. Fresh from the vines.
Another successful variety in Cavallo's farm is ARRA Sugar Drop™ (ARRA 30).

Francesca La Spina, Exec General Manager at Romeo’s Best, ARRA Agent in Australia, summarizes the season as a very good one. Romeo’s Best is very happy with the results from ARRA Sweeties™, ARRA Passion Fire™ and ARRA Sugar Drop™. 

On January 6th Fruitmaster, ARRA Agent in Australia held an ARRA field day that took place at their Paringi farm located in Sunraysia, New South Wales. The event was very well organized respecting the local COVID-19 regulations. The participants were given a guided tour in 3 groups led by Alysson Barbosa and Stephan Nel, both Fruitmaster Agronomists. The participants had the opportunity to see the test block where several ARRA Varieties are currently under evaluation as well as some others already growing commercially.

Of course, ARRA 29 had its share of admiration and everyone loved its beautiful natural red color, good berry size and crunchiness.

ARRA 29 at Paringi Farm.

The participants were given a small survey after the ARRA Field Day where they expressed their own preferences regarding the varieties that were shown. ARRA 29 was chosen mainly for its harvest time, berry size, and color along with some more unique characteristics as shown in the graph.

Uzi says:” Following the guidelines is the key to success. This is what made the ARRA 29 become a winner this season, not only in Australia but in other countries as well, such as Chile, Namibia and South Africa”. Uzi adds:” After working together with Alysson and Stephan to finalize the guidelines of ARRA 28-85+2 we achieved great success also with this selection. It is great to work with such a professionals team”.

28-85+2 Fruitmaster Test block at Paringi Farm.

ARRA 28-85+2 was one of the favorite selection’s shown during the event. This mid-season, dark cherry red is sweet, crunchy with a light Muscat flavor. The hanging ability is excellent as well as its shelf life and in the Sunraysia environment, it looks like a promising selection.

Alysson reports on the day: “The field day was very productive. Many ARRA selections in the test area are showing to be promising for Australia and we received very good feedbacks”.

ARRA 29 (ARRA Passion Fire™) is the earliest variety planted in Fruitmaster’s Euston Farm.  Currently, in its first year of production, the crop looks spectacular. Alysson explains: “During the seasons the climate in Sunraysia is characterized by heat waves, with temperatures often exceeding 40ºC. The solar radiation is also very high. Some varieties are affected by this type of climate, however, ARRA 29 has adapted very well, resisting the high temperatures and high solar radiation”.

ARRA 29 after 20mm of rain without plastic cover.

Proving high fertility, only 4 canes were pruned (about 14 buds long) which carried an average of 60 bunches per vine. Alysson reported that just a few days before the harvest, the area experienced 20 mm rainfall and ARRA 29, without any plastic cover, wasn’t affected whatsoever. The beautiful full-color was achieved without the need for spraying any coloring promoter product.

ARRA 29 freshly picked at Euston Farm, New South Wales.

Mark Leng, CEO at Fruitmaster summarizes: “The team is very excited about the results we have seen in our trial block this season. The work done by Alysson and Stephan is verifying the commercial attributes of these varieties and ensuring that growers and customers will share equally in their success. Sharing our findings and challenges with the Grapa technical team has been hugely beneficial and we believe we will see commercialization from these trials in the coming years throughout Australia

Proving high fertility, only 4 canes were pruned (about 14 buds long) which carried an average of 60 bunches per vine. Alysson reported that just a few days before the harvest, the area experienced 20 mm rainfall and ARRA 29, without any plastic cover, wasn’t affected whatsoever. The beautiful full-color was achieved without the need for spraying any coloring promoter product.

“We are happy to be harvesting ARRA 29 (ARRA Passion Fire™) this week… It ripens in the same time slot as Flame Seedless, but we have found it to be a far superior variety. We are excited about the future prospects of this variety for Mooigezicht Estates“.
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