Introduction of sweet cherry cultivation in the Guadiana Lowlands (Spain)

F. Balas, P. Bañuls, M.A. Manzano, F. Pérez-Gragera, M.J. Serradilla, M. López-Corrales
Sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) culture is a major economic activity in the north of Extremadura, in the Jerte Valley. However, in the South, in the Guadiana Lowlands, despite great fruit culture tradition in the region, this species is barely cultivated. The absence of cultivation of this crop is due to some climatic and biological limiting factors affecting yields. This factors are the need for chill hours, the high degree of self-incompatibility in cultivars used and environmental temperature during flowering. Seven sweet cherry cultivars ('Early Lory', 'Prime Giant', 'Celeste', 'Primulat', '4-70', 'Garnet' and '57'), from breeding programs in France, USA and Canada, distinguished by low chill hours necessity, self-fertility or known incompatibility group and early flowering dates, were chosen to assess their prospective cultivation in the Guadiana Lowlands and, eventually, introduce the crop in the area. In this study, agronomic (yield, accumulated production, active growth rate, production efficiency, resistance to cracking and incidence of doubling fruit) and physicochemical (weith, size, caliber category, firmness, skin and flesh color, °Brix, pH, acidity titration, soluble solids, maturation index) traits of different sweet cherry varieties have been evaluated. Preliminary results obtained show some differences between cultivars, exhibiting the suitability for commercial cultivation of some cultivars like 'Prime Giant' or '4-70'. This work, that is ongoing and will continue for some years, show the usefulness of medium-long term agronomic studies as a tool for crop adaptation and introduction that provides the kind of information that producers demand.
Balas, F., Bañuls, P., Manzano, M.A., Pérez-Gragera, F., Serradilla, M.J. and López-Corrales, M. (2017). Introduction of sweet cherry cultivation in the Guadiana Lowlands (Spain). Acta Hortic. 1161, 321-326
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1161.52
sweet cherry, Prunus avium, agronomic characterization, physicochemical characterization

Acta Horticulturae