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Developing an Irish apple sector

Developing an Irish apple sector

A research orchard has been established in Teagasc Oak Park to support the development of an Irish apple sector.

Planted in April, one third of the orchard consists of a variety trial with 48 apple genotypes, including sports of Gala, Jonagold, Elstar and several apple scab resistant varieties. The other part of the orchard was planted with variations of modern-training systems, rootstocks and planting densities, totalling 2,700 trees.

Alberto Ramos Luz, Fruit Research Officer in Teagasc’s Horticulture Development Department, Oak Park, explained that this orchard represents a fundamental step in developing the apple sector in Ireland. Its aim is to identify varieties suitable for the Irish climate, but also consumer and market needs, as well as identifying better forms of orchard management to obtain maximum yield efficiency and fruit quality.

“In the future, we hope to recommend a more efficient technological package than those practised in Ireland today, making apple production more attractive to Irish farmers, with greater profitability and with an offer of higher quality fruits to consumers.

“This directly impacts economic, environmental and social issues, which are Teagasc strategic objectives of supporting rural development, mitigating gaseous emissions, adaptation to climate change, a more biodiverse agriculture and promoting human health and nutrition, and above all supporting viable farming, promoting the production of fruits to replace imports. Apples will be the pilot initiative in this context,” he said.

Apple orchard