Cherry Exhibition 2023 at Fortunato Nurseries

23 May 2023
420

Luigi Catalano - Agrimeca / Civi Italia (IT)
Cherry Times Scientific and Technical Committee

In a year ravaged by disastrous weather conditions that in region Apulia (Southern Italy) almost cancelled the production of cherries of the medium-early varieties, the desire to already look ahead to the next season and evaluate new solutions to overcome the criticalities of the sector is demonstrated by the large number of participants registered at Cherry Exhibition 2023, hosted by Vivai Fortunato in Sammichele di Bari on 19 May.

The event organised by Doctor Farmer and Fruit Journal, with the participation of technicians from Agrimeca Grape & Fruit Consulting for the aspects of new varieties and forms of breeding, also saw the participation of some companies producing technical solutions for agriculture, with specialized lines for cherry crop.

Maurizio Simone of Doctor Farmer dealt with the problem of cracking, illustrating the new findings on the physiology of this physiopathy, and indicating some agronomic practices that could reduce its impact on the crop.

This was followed by several contributions from representatives of manufacturers of fertilisers and biostimulants, which have now become part of cherry management protocols.The bitter realisation remains that with rainfall of hundreds of millimetres in the pre-harvest phase up to harvesting, there are no protections or treatment protocols that can protect against this very harmful phytopathy.

Luca Fortunato, owner of the nursery that hosted the event, emphasised the importance of cherry crops in many foreign countries, which require different technical solutions - rootstocks and varieties - than those commonly used in Apulian cherry cultivation. For this reason, the nursery propagates cherries on a dozen different rootstocks, from seed and propagated in vitro, capable of satisfying the different soil and climate conditions. These are grafted with a varietal range of 30 varieties, from extra-early to extra-late, covering a ripening calendar of about 8 weeks. Varieties that, in addition to the local Ferrovia, come from major breeding programmes.

Prominent among them are the varieties from the Sweet series of the University of Bologna; those published by IPS - International Plant Selection from Zaiger Genetics of California and Summerland Variety Corporation of Canada; as well as those from Cot International, all of which have been directly inspected and commented on in the catalogue field set up at the nursery.

Lorenzo Laghezza of Agrimeca Grape & Fruit Consulting provided useful hints on canopy management for the different varieties, focusing on a simple-to-manage training form, the multi-axis pot. It represents a useful solution for regional cherry cultivation based entirely on the use of the vigorous rootstock Prunus mahaleb. This form makes it possible to create plantings with a density of 700 plants/ha with the possibility of covering individual rows.

A day of discussion on the innovations available for the sustainability of a fruit crop that locally, more than others, needs plant and varietal renewal in order not to lose market positions and allow it to build a future, not lulling on past glories.


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