Launching sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) crop in Murcia Region, Spain
Growers of Murcia Region seem interested in sweet cherry cultivation because this crop: a) requires less water than other stone fruit trees, b) tolerates Plum pox virus, c) can be harvested very early in some areas of Murcia, d) can be adapted to small farms production system, e) its wage labour for harvesting does not coincide with harvest time of other stone fruits, and f) the location of Murcia Region is favourable for marketing and distribution. In 2006, taking into account prior advantages of sweet cherry crop, a Cherry Working Group (ChWG) was organized with the goal of helping in the introduction of this crop in Murcia Region. ChWG was formed by research-workers of IMIDA, qualified technicians of the DGIACA and some advanced growers ready to open their farms to people. The ChWG started their activities establishing a net of experimental plots in order to study compatibility of sweet cherry cultivars with peach × almond hybrid selections and Mariana 2624 using myro Adara as interstock. Some other rootstock selections were also introduced and tried. Two ex situ collections of sweet cherry rounding 80 cultivars were also established. Cultural techniques for improving soil management, plant production and fruit quality were also examined. Decisions such as new experimental plots to be planted, recording of data out of sweet cherry plantations, and eventual incidences observed are put in order once a year in an obligatory meeting of the ChWG. Transfer of results is also done by means of meetings held mainly as open field days, which allow direct observations about behaviour of plant material. Annuals memorandums and programmes are also published by mean of internet (
www.imida.es), and/or by mass media.
Other works have been published in scientific meetings and in papers.
During the seven years of work in common, the ChWG has demonstrated that it is possible to introduce the sweet cherry culture as a new crop in Murcia.
Year after year the sweet cherry surface planted in Murcia is increasing.
Frutos, D. and Ureña, R. (2017). Launching sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) crop in Murcia Region, Spain. Acta Hortic. 1161, 171-176
sweet cherry experimentation net, cherry behaviour in Murcia Region, Cherry I+D Group