There is a need for significant investment for modern apple production in Ireland, the head of Teagasc's horticulture development department Dermot Callaghan has said.

Speaking at the first apple research update at Teagasc Oak Park involving industry stakeholders, he stressed the importance of collaborative efforts across the supply chain.

He also outlined a strategic timeline aimed at addressing key agronomy questions, accelerating production protocols and enhancing market proposition and branding in the years to come.

Teagasc director Professor Frank O'Mara highlighted the apple programme's achievements and its significance in terms of delivering on actions in the Department of Agriculture’s horticulture strategy, while Minister of State Pippa Hackett emphasised the crucial role of apples within the Irish context, underlining their economic and environmental contributions.

Ongoing research

Teagasc's fruit research officer Alberto Ramos Luz presented ongoing research initiatives such as smart apple project, followed by PhD student Jean do Prado, which evaluates fruit quality across different apple tree genotypes.

Alberto Ramos Luz also shed light on projects such as efficient orchard, focusing on agronomic behaviour within various production systems, and the Irish apple scab project, dedicated to studying one of the primary diseases affecting apple trees in Ireland and globally presented by the Teagasc plant pathologist research officer Steven Kildea.

Orchard walk

Attendees were offered an orchard walk, where they witnessed the development of apple trees under different training systems, including high-density plantings and innovative two-dimensional training systems.

Noteworthy was the presentation of the V-trellis system, renowned for its productivity potential exceeding 100t per hectare and the two-dimensional systems for its promise in reducing labour costs through mechanisation and high productivity and fruit quality.