COT INTERNATIONAL: the new cherry variety breeder and editor you can count on

20 Nov 2023

COT International, a French breeder with over 30 years' experience in apricot breeding and plantings in some twenty countries around the world, decided in 2010 to diversify into cherries and plums. After a number of technical trials at the end of the 2000s, Cot International embarked on a major cherry hybridisation programme.

More than 250 crosses have already been made, using a genetic collection of over 50 varieties of diverse origins. "Every year, a thousand hybrids are planted and then evaluated in our selection orchards," explains Marie-Laure Eteve, company director and head of variety creation.

The best selections are then grafted onto Maxma Delbard® 14 Brokforest for a second evaluation under "grower" conditions. Today, more than 80 grafted selections will go into production in 2024 and 2025.

Cherry Fruit exhibition in COT’s office

For its selection work, the French company can draw on its long experience in creation and selection, which has opened the doors to many countries, with one main objective: "To create and select new fruit varieties that meet the needs of both growers and consumers".

It is this rigour and quest for excellence that has guided his choices in the selection of cherries. Gustative quality is their 1st selection criterion, because a variety with excellent agronomic performance that is not good to eat is of little interest these days, as consumers have rightly become increasingly demanding about the quality they want.

Sun POP cov.

Selection criteria:

  • Gustative quality, varieties with high sugar levels and low acidity, such as SUN POP cov
  • Size and firmness, cherries that can easily have a size of +30mm (as demanded by the market) and a firmness that makes them "crunchy".
  • A range of varieties to complement the ripening calendar and produce excellent cherries throughout the season.
  • Cracking-tolerant varieties for profitable orchards
  • Attractive cherries to entice consumers, because even if taste is important, the act of buying begins with the eyes!
  • Self-fertilisation where possible, and climate change disrupting pollination periods, makes it increasingly necessary to offer varieties that produce every year.
  • Today, all their commercial varieties are 100% red, but COT International is also working on two-tone cherries to offer an alternative to growers wishing to diversify their cherry offer.

Our 4 cherry selections

  • SUN POP (COT 12-09) : Self-fertile, this cherry, ripening just after FRISCO, is very attractive with a big size (30-32mm); the taste is very sweet and crunchy. The 1rst COT cherry selection patented.
  • COT 12-05: Semi early, this cherry is very productive every year. It has an exceptional taste and flavor with more than 22°Brix. It is quite tolerant to cracking.
  • COT 12-06: Very similar to COT 12-05 with maybe a bigger size and less sugar. We need to select one of both in 2024.
  • COT 12-01: Later than the 3 others; this cherry ripens at SUMMIT season. The fruit is quite big (30-32mm) with an excellent quality.

Range of Cherry variety from COT International

As you can see, from now on you're going to have to rely on COT International when it comes to choosing which cherry variety to plant!

With success stories such as NIMBA cov, from the American breeder SMS cherries, and successes in the making with their range currently being evaluated under the POP name, this small company from the South of France has every intention of shaking things up and 'POPing' your taste buds!

Source: COT International

Images: COT International

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