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.
Robust varieties crucial for fireblight control