Testing new varieties and breeding programs apricots and pears
Apricot is an important symbol of the regional fruit growing in Valais. This fruit is therefore the midpoint of our variety testing activities. Ten Years ago, Agroscope has started an new apricot breeding program, with the main objective to keep the excellent gustative quality of the cultivar Luizet and to develop new varieties characterized with an excellent internal and external quality, with a lower sensitivity to transportation and handling and with a slower post-harvest evolution
On the contrary to apples, only few new interesting pear varieties are proposed to the producers. The objective of the Agroscope pear breeding program is to develop new varieties with high flavor, bicolored or russeted, tolerant to the fire blight and with a regular production. The commercialization and marketing of these new varieties is performed by our partner VariCom : www.varicom.ch.
Good agricultural practices
Our activities on irrigation of fruit trees were intensified because of the particular conditions around the Geneva Lake and in Valais. The main goal is a reasonable and sustainable use of the available water. Currently, the proportion of irrigated fruit crops represents a significant part of all commercial orchards in Switzerland. For apple orchards, representing about ¾ of the fruit growing area, the average irrigated proportion is estimated to 60%. This figure does not reflect major differences between regions (5-10 % in Kanton Thurgau, >90% in the Lake of Geneva and Rhone Valley regions). The requirement for developing tools to use water in a more rational way is not only important in terms of efficient allocation of resources but also for the agriculture's image.
New apple and pear varieties are also tested.
The aim of Agroscope’s research is to define the ideal dates for harvest. Agroscope conducts experiments and provides clear information on suitable storage conditions for all new varieties with a view to marketing fresh products whose taste and nutritional attributes have been preserved in the interest of consumer wishes, with the minimum of inputs and impact on our environment.