Building a LINSA: 2014 IFTA Italy

January 7, 2015 - storage organizer

Apple growers roving with IFTA in November, 2014 schooled how to grow apples, South Tyrolean style, from a organisation of experts. From left are Terence Robinson, Cornell University; Markus Bratlwarter, SK Sudtirol, evaluator of new varieties; Kurt Werth, consultant and debate organizer; Phil Schwallier, Michigan tree fruit teacher and boss of IFTA; Michael Oberhuber, investigate hire during Laimburg; Jurgen Christanell, South Tyrol prolongation use consultant on orchard design; Robert Wiedmer, extension; and Walter Rass, prolongation consultant on mechanization. (Richard Lehnert/Good Fruit Grower)

In northern Italy, in a unconstrained range of South Tyrol, about 6,000 tiny farms favour 45,000 acres of land clinging to apple production, a largest thoroughness of apples in Europe. The segment reserve half of a Italian marketplace and 15 percent of a European market.

Since a finish of World War II, stakeholders in that apple attention have orderly themselves in what Bolzano apple consultant Kurt Werth—and European sociologists—call a LINSA, a Learning and Innovation Network for Sustainable Agriculture.

The many critical drivers are apple producers’ mild complement and their despotic adhesion to a simple beliefs of self-help, self-administration, self-responsibility, and member promotion.

“The apple producers in South Tyrol have combined a LINSA guided by tellurian relationships, trust, common vision, and seductiveness where information and believe are eliminated simply and underpinned by fast and common movement for innovation,” Werth wrote.

If this all sounds academic, it comes from a paper he co-authored in 2014 for a Food and Agriculture Organization of a United Nations. It was a box investigate in rural innovation, something that competence offer as a indication for farmers elsewhere in a world.

This network around a apple in South Tyrol has parallels to a land-grant university complement in a United States, though in Tyrol most of it is grower-owned and grower-controlled. While a European apparatus and chemical companies are private, they contingency pivotal in on a desires of a growers and their absolute advisors to prosper.

Here are some elements in a network:

The writer cooperatives

There are many of them, during slightest 43. They are themselves cooperators in dual vast selling cooperatives, VI.P and VOG, that container and sell 98 percent of a Tyrol’s apples.

The cooperatives paint a growers, and a growers, regulating their co-ops, come to agreement on only about everything—the varieties of apples they will raise; a varieties of trees they will grow and rootstocks they will plant them on; how they will conduct ice and accost hazards; and how they will share machine to reduce prolongation costs.

Extension of knowledge

The growers support an eccentric advisory organisation identical to a Cooperative Extension Service in a United States. The title, in English, is a South Tyrolean Extension Service for Fruit and Wine Growing. Its website is

Robert Wiedmer, a director, pronounced it was founded in 1957. “Growers wanted an independent, design source of information that was both present and neutral,” he said.

The nonprofit classification is destined by a house of 12 growers, inaugurated any 4 years, representing 7 districts, and doing business in both Italian and German.

Among a services it provides growers are interpretation of dirt and foliar investigate and manure recommendations, assist with sprayer calibration, formulation for new orchards, and about 100 internal seminars, conferences, and workshops any year. It provides printed margin guides, email warnings on apple scab, and web-based information on pesticides, irrigation management, glow corrupt infection risks, and weather.

Growers compensate fees of about 200 euros per hectare of orchard (about $100 an acre) and a supervision of South Tyrol (which is semi-autonomous in a Italian federation) adds to it, profitable about a entertain of a sum cost.

Variety innovation

In 2002, a varietal creation consortium called SK South Tyrol was shaped to investigate new varieties—and rise some as well—to make certain South Tyrol growers have entrance to new and potentially disdainful varieties.

In a time support of about 10 years, claimant apple varieties are put by their paces to exam their bearing for growing, storing, and selling by a growers of South Tyrol. A dossier is built, a final comment is made, and a preference rendered: Should it be introduced or rejected.

The consortium is saved by a selling co-ops, two-thirds by VOG, one-third by VI.P, who have a vast contend in a preference to grow or not to grow, given they will store, pack, and sell a fruit. On average, a South Tyrolean attention introduces a new accumulation about once any 6 years, Bradlwarter said.

Nursery stock

A consortium of nurseries, called KSB, turns out approved high-quality trees. The South Tyrol growers cackle adult a best trees, those with 7 or some-more feathers. One of a vast nurseries, GRIBA, has introduced a peculiarity grading complement that sorts trees into several grades formed on caliper and series and distance of feathers.

Apple research

While some simple investigate and grave preparation takes place during a Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, a pivotal actor in South Tyrol is a Agricultural Research and Innovation Network, centered during a investigate hire during Laimburg. There, investigate is oriented to elucidate and preventing problems in a margin and post-harvest. It is destined by Michael Oberhuber and involves some 200 people on a investigate team.

Founded in 1975, it is partial of a internal supervision of South Tyrol, most as a land-grant-university-based complement is in a United States. The researchers, Oberhuber said, work in areas of dirt flood and irrigation, pomology, accumulation contrast (and breeding, given 1997), plant physiology (planting, training, and pruning), storage, plant insurance by investigate on a biology of pests and beneficials, and insecticide testing. It is all destined during elucidate a problems of towering agriculture.

“It is easier to make some-more income than to save on costs,” Oberhuber said. The investigate is directed during pushing adult yields and peculiarity so growers can get some-more income per hectare. •

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