This year’s EUFRIN (European Fruit Research Institutes Network) Meeting of the European Apple and Pear Variety Testing Working Group took place on 9-10 June 2022 in Wageningen in the Netherlands. Numerous breeders, licence-holders and representatives from marketing organisations and nurseries were in attendance, in addition to variety testers from 18 countries.
To kick off, variety testers from all over Europe introduced the latest developments in the apple and pear range, as well as the general trends in the 21 growing regions represented. A total of 24 breeding programmes, institutions, organisations and companies then shared their most recent selections, varieties, brands and strategies. The diversity of the many new varieties presented and the different marketing concepts were impressive. With new apple varieties in particular, competition is stiff and market cultivation is intensive. Switzerland was present and well represented with three introductory presentations (Michael Friedli of the FiBL, Samuel Cia and Simone Bühlmann-Schütz, both from Agroscope). To conclude the first day of the meeting, the entire group visited the Wageningen University and Research (WUR) Randwijk Experimental Station, where new solutions for sustainable and cost-efficient production are developed in close collaboration with practice and science. Various rootstock, plant-protection and fertiliser trials were presented in combination with innovations from WUR’s in-house breeding programme (SQ159/ Natyra® and Wurtwinning), as well as new cover systems and agrophotovoltaics.
Besides looking at the productivity of the new varieties on the different sites, the second day of the meeting focused on the rootstock trials conducted by the EUFRIN members. Since 2017, highly promising new rootstocks for apple and pear production are being jointly tested at Agroscope’s Wädenswil site and at our other partners’ sites from Norway to Spain. With its high number of participating research institutes and the wide range of environmental conditions for rootstock trials the network is unique in global terms, and is expected to provide sound knowledge on the potential of new rootstock in the very near future.