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Italy: New apricot varieties

A technical meeting on the apricot was held at Agrion (the foundation for the research, innovation, and technological development) in Manta (CN). Lorenzo Berra and Davide Nari illustrated what's new in varietal experimentation.

Many operators took part - nursery gardeners, producers and technicians in particular. 2017 will be remembered as a bad year both weather and economic-wise, as ripening was 4-10 days early, flooding the market and leading to a drop in prices.

"Data regarding 2017 show that, compared to the average of the past 10 years, 120 mm less rain fell with high temperatures in February, March and June. This meant blossoming was at least one week early than 2016. In addition, frost in April did not damage production, but led to a lower quality. Fruit has 0.5-1° Brix less than 2016 while acidity is the same."

"What has changed in the apricot sector over the past 10 years? The harvesting calendar is longer, appearance has improved, fruit with a deeper colour is available as well as varieties tolerant/resistant to pathogens. However, constant productivity, global quality, self-incompatibility, environmental adaptation and sensitivity to Sharka and bacteriosis remain." 

Berra then talked about the pros and cons of each variety presented, with particular focus on those that might be interesting for Piedmont.

Considering the climate in Piedmont, early varieties might generate acidic fruit that wouldn't be appreciated by consumers. Nonetheless, Mediabel (14/06) was part of the experimentation as it's very productive and self-fertile and produces fruit with a orange and deep red colour and a good flavour when harvested at the right time (10.2°Brix and 29.2 meq/L). Fruits remain ripe while on the plant and the flesh has a good texture.  

The ripening era that most represents Piedmont is that of Laycot (23/06), which has been grown for the past 20 years and for which an alternative must be found. Apribang* Regalcot® could be it, just like Bergeval®Aviclo*, a French cultivar resistant to Sharka, self-fertile that produces large fruits (65 g) that are appealing, with a good taste and sweet (13°Brix and 21.9 meq/L). Shelf-life and suitability to processing remains to be assessed.  

Late variety Farbela* is also being tested. It's self-fertile and easy to manage, producing large fruit with a deep red colour in 15% of the peel. The flesh has a good texture with a sweet flavour (12.5° Brix). 

"Now that we have seen that they are appealing, we must assess parameters such as production regularity, texture, ripening, flavour and shelf-life, as it's useful to have a fruit that looks good when all the other parameters are not satisfactory.

Publication date: 7/17/2017


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