Green light for Kanzi
The Belgian Gala-Braeburn cross is recommended for Italian growers.
Kanzi matures about the same time as Golden Delicious. The fruit is larger than Gala and stores well.
Golden Delicious is the standard by which apple growers in the South Tyrol area of Italy measure new varieties, and few can match its productivity. The region has 8,000 growers with an average of fewer than six acres of orchard each. So when a grower decides to plant 3,000 trees, he or she is making a decision on 50 percent of the orchard for the next 15 years, Walter Guerra, pomologist with the Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry at Laimburg, said at the International Fruit Tree Association's annual meeting in Germany.
The South Tyrol is one of the few areas in western Europe where apple production is not decreasing, Guerra said. In fact, production has slightly increased in the last decade.
Golden Delicious accounts for almost 40 percent of the apple crop, and Guerra expects the volume to increase slightly, because it can now be grown in higher-altitude sites because of climate changes. Average yields in the region are 55 bins per acre.
Gala volume is stable at 14 percent of the crop, Guerra reported. Growers are replacing strains that no longer satisfy the market.
Red Delicious is stable at 10 percent of the crop.
Braeburn is 7 percent of the crop and not increasing because of a saturated market and some winter damage.
Fuji, at 5 percent of the crop, is no longer being planted because of biennial bearing.
Granny Smith plantings are increasing because of strong demand in Spain and Russia. It constitutes 5 percent of the crop.
Pink Lady, at 2 percent, would be more extensively planted if more trees were available. However, growers are planting as much of the red strain Rosy Glow as possible.
The South Tyrol Variety Innovation Consortium, which involves growers, marketers, and researchers, categorizes new varieties into red (not recommended), orange (proceed with caution), and green (go ahead and plant).
On the red list are:
• Cameo, because of biennial bearing and non-uniform coloring
• Greenstar, because it has large fruit and does not sell as well as Granny Smith
• Junami/Diwa, because the fruit is too small
• Gold Chief, because of poor packouts
• Tentation, because it is less productive than Golden Delicious
On the orange list are:
• Evelina, whose marketing strategy has not yet been finalized
• Jazz, which needs further testing in Italy to identify suitable sites
• Modi, which also needs further testing.
On the green list is Kanzi, which is recommended for good coloring sites.
Modi was first planted in the South Tyrol in 2001 and there are now 20,000 trees in the ground with another 133,000 ordered for planting this spring. Modi blooms three days before Golden Delicious and has interesting harvest timing between Gala and Golden Delicious, Guerra said.
The variety is not full red, but develops a good red overcolor even in warm sites, Guerra said. It has a tendency to develop russet and is prone to preharvest drop. It needs two picks. It is scab resistant, which means the number of fungicide applications could be greatly reduced. The apple is firm, crisp, and juicy, but it has a bland flavor, Guerra said. It has a thick skin and can turn greasy. It is susceptible to core rot because of its open calyx.
Kanzi was first planted in the South Tyrol in 2003. There are 310,000 trees in the ground, with 76,000 ordered for 2009. Kanzi blooms three days before Golden Delicious and is harvested around the same time as Golden. There are concerns about color development in orchards that are covered with hail net, Guerra said. Three picks are needed.
The variety is productive, though blindwood has been observed and magnesium applications may be required because of leaf necrosis. It is also susceptible to bitter pit but does not develop russet. The fruit is attractive, and larger than Gala, and has a good flavor and storability. Though there have been reports of flesh browning in northern Europe, that's not been seen in Italy.
Jazz was first planted in South Tyrol in 2005. There are 38,000 trees in the ground. None were available for planting in 2009, but 280,000 trees are on order for 2010. Virus-free material is available from France. Jazz blooms with Braeburn and appears to mature five to seven days before Braeburn, although postharvest evaluations still need to be done to assess the best harvest timing, Guerra said. The variety is prone to preharvest drop, bitter pit, and superficial scald.
The apple is attractive, but the fruit color does not develop uniformly. He believes four picks are needed to produce a high-quality product with good market acceptance. Fruit size and productivity are lower than with Gala, but the fruit is firm, juicy, and flavorful. It stores well.
A trial in a commercial orchard in the South Tyrol, at an elevation of 700 meters (2,300 feet), showed that Modi, Kanzi, and Jazz were less productive than Golden Delicious. The trees were planted in 2005, and cumulative yields up to 2008 were the equivalent of 59 pounds per tree for Jazz, 70 pounds for Modi, 81 pounds for Kanzi, and 88 pounds per tree for Golden Delicious.
Other new cultivars from around the world that Guerra and his colleagues are testing include:
Ariane from France, Crimson Crisp (Co-op 39) from the United States, CPRO159 from The Netherlands, Daiane from Brazil, Dalitron from France, Delfloki from France, SweeTango (MN 1914) from the United States, Nicola from Canada, and Envy from New Zealand.
They are also testing the Japanese variety Shinano Gold, for which the South Tyrol marketing associations hold an exclusive license for Europe.