As elsewhere, berries are popular in Switzerland, and their consumption has risen sharply in recent years. Production requires considerable technical expertise in order to be able to offer high-quality fruit to consumers. Agricultural researchers face no shortage of challenges in this respect. Within this context, Agroscope is organising the twelfth Rubus&Ribes Symposium from 25–28 June at the ETH Zurich, which will bring together 200 berry researchers from around the world.
The aim of the symposium is to support the development of innovative, resource-efficient, quality-enhancing and sustainable berry-production systems. The 200 participants will be able to exchange knowledge, follow 45 scientific presentations and discover over 70 posters on the following topics: breeding and genetics, cultivation methods (under glass, on substrate, seedling cultivation, cutting, plant nutrition, irrigation, harvest, etc.) adaptation to climate change, pest and disease control, sensory and nutritional quality, and post-harvest short-term storage of the fruit.
The Symposium is organised by Agroscope in partnership with the University of Geisenheim (Germany), the Weinsberg Education and Research Institute (Germany) and the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS).
Agroscope researches in a number of areas for the production of berries. The evaluation of new varieties, particularly in terms of taste, nutritional quality and post-harvest keeping quality, allows us to choose the varieties best suited to production and consumption in Switzerland. With regard to crop protection, Drosophila suzukii remains a problem for which sustainable solutions are being sought. And in terms of profitability, new production methods are expected to reduce costs – particularly harvesting costs. Moreover, a project is underway to identify alternatives to peat for substrate-growing, in connection with Switzerland’s policy of phasing out the use of peat.