World's biggest apple show
New varieties, harvest aids, picking machines, and lots more were on display.
More than 15,000 people attended the three-day Interpoma conference and trade show held November 4-6 in Bolzano, Italy.
Apples are the attraction at Interpoma, the biggest apple conference and trade show in the world. Held every two years, the 2010 show that ran from November 4-6 in Bolzano, Italy, lived up to its hype of showcasing everything needed to grow apples, from nursery trees to picking equipment. The Good Fruit Grower joined an international group of growers last week to visit Interpoma and will tour high density, highly mechanized orchards this week in South Tyrol, Italy. The tour, arranged by Susan Pheasant and Mauricio Frias of WeCu, Inc., concludes on November 14 after visiting Italian tree fruit nurseries, research stations, packing facilities and the EIMA equipment show in Bologna.
Growers in the group from Chile, Ontario, Canada, United States, and Mexico were impressed with the size of the Interpoma trade show and the specialized equipment developed for apples. For example, more than 15 different manufacturers displayed orchard platforms, which varied from the basic to those powered by electric battery and capable of automatically dumping apples from the top level to a bin below. In Italy, platforms are commonly used in orchards to perform a variety of tasks, from installing hail nets to thinning to picking.
During harvest, this platform picks up the bin and brings it to workers on the top level. After workers fill the bin, it moves past and is set on the ground behind.Other highlights at the trade show were new varieties, like red-fleshed apples, a wide range of narrow tractors, some with 80 horsepower and rubber tracks for all terrain use, and remote controlled bin trailers. Small, fan- air blast sprayers and vertical towers were featured, along with mulching implements that can sense trees and can strip spray at the same time. Growers watched a field demonstration of a mechanical harvest aid that allows seven people to pick as a unit, each averaging a bin per hour. There was also equipment that sweeps up dropped fruit for processing.
South Tyrol, host of Interpoma, is famous for its apples. Production goes back hundreds of years. Eight thousand growers in the region produce 12 percent of Europe’s apples from 18,000 hectares. Average annual production from the area is 1 million metric tons. About a third of the production is exported to other European countries.
Look for more articles about Interpoma and orchard mechanization in Europe in upcoming issues of the Good Fruit Grower.