The loss of traditional apple orchards, also due to fire blight outbreaks, is threatening the supply of the Swiss cider industry in high quality cider apples. Fireblight tolerant varieties are a key-factor in a sustainable disease-management. They not only ensure the availability of high quality cider apples, but also help to maintain traditional orchards, playing an important role with respect to landscape and ecology. In the market liberalization context, high juice quality and short transport distances are trump cards for the Swiss cider industry in facing competitors. The Research Station Agroscope Changins- Wädenswil ACW in collaboration with the Centralgenossenschaft für Alkoholfreie Verwertung von Schweizer Obstprodukten CAVO and other partners tested traditional and new apple varieties for their susceptibility to fireblight, juice quality, processing ability, as well as growing habit and productivity. From 2008 to 2011 about 100 apple varieties were tested for fireblight susceptibility by shoot inoculation, whereof 10 additionally by bloom inoculation. In total 50 promising varieties have been tested for their processing ability and chemical as well as sensory juice quality. Out of all the varieties tested, 17 fulfilled the high requirements for juice quality, while showing low susceptibility to fire blight.
Spring J.-L-, Zufferey V., Verdenal T., Reynard J.-S., Lorenzini F., Bourdin G., Blouin A., Carlen C., Jermini M., Morisoli R., Ferretti M.
Five Merlot clones bred in Switzerland are currently being distributed by the certification sector. A multiyear trial conducted by Agroscope in Gudo (Canton of Ticino) has made it possible to compare them with French and Italian reference clones and to highlight their very good performances.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are important for healthy soils and crops. A pan-European study shows that plant-protection products adversely affect these fungi, reducing their ability to supply plants with phosphorus via their roots.
Birdsfoot trefoil and sainfoin are used in mixtures for perennial hay meadows and for tannin-containing fodder. Agroscope is adding two new cultivars of birdsfoot trefoil to the ‘List of Recommended Varieties of Forage Plants’, whilst there is no change in the case of sainfoin.