Agroscope’s variety and rootstock testing examines new varieties from around the globe. The aim is to assess their climatic suitability for Switzerland’s growing regions, as well as their agronomic productivity and marketability, thus spanning the entire spectrum from orchard to storage to consumer. The comprehensive and unbiased testing of new varieties represents a crucial service for the Swiss fruit sector, since producers and commercial traders undertake long-term investments when they decide to grow a specific variety.
Agronomic variety testing is performed in two or three stages, depending on the variety of fruit in question. We regularly present the results of the variety and rootstock testing at specialist conferences, extension events, and in the specialist journals Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Obst-und Weinbau, Revue Suisse de Viticulture, Arboriculture et Horticulture, and Früchte & Gemüse.
Evaluations and Results
The variety and rootstock testers work closely with representatives from the industry in the Expert Commission for Fruit Variety Testing. This enables the specific concerns and viewpoints of consumers, the fruit trade, integrated and organic producers, tree nurseries and extension workers to feed into to the variety-testing work. Conversely, it transmits the variety testers’ findings directly to the respective users.
Partnerships and Links
Variety and rootstock testing is nationally and internationally networked: regular contact is cultivated with breeders, researchers and extension workers. The individual working groups of the European Fruit Research Institutes Network (EUFRIN) as well as the Pome and Stone Fruits section of the International Society of Horticultural Sciences (ISHS) and the International Fruit Tree Association (IFTA) are important platforms for the international exchange of experience and information about varieties.
Descriptions of Varieties and Rootstocks
The Variety Fact Sheets for Pome and Stone Fruits published by the UG assess new and established varieties according to the latest knowledge in testing. As technical leaflets, they not only describe the characteristics of the fruit and trees and list the strengths and weaknesses of the variety, but also contain recommendations for cultivation, crop-load management, harvesting and storage.