Big plans ahead for cider apples

Big plans ahead for cider apples

Smart Farmer News
INVESTMENT: NSW DPI technical assistant Stephen Gottschall with one of the new plantings in the cider apple scion wood block at Orange. Photo: Denis Howard.

INVESTMENT: NSW DPI technical assistant Stephen Gottschall with one of the new plantings in the cider apple scion wood block at Orange. Photo: Denis Howard.

Aa

Those who enjoy a refreshing cider to combat the summer heat will be heartened by developments on the NSW Department of Primary Industries site in Orange, NSW.

Aa

Those who enjoy a refreshing cider to combat the summer heat will be heartened by developments on the NSW Department of Primary Industries site in Orange, NSW.

The NSW DPI Temperate Fruits Development team spent two months planting a new cider variety scion wood supply block to now include all 35 varieties which are grown in Australia.

The new block has been planted to support the development of new cider apple plantings across Australia.

Leader of the Temperate Fruits Development team, Kevin Dodds said the plantings will help to continue the cider industry's growth and development.

"It will take around two years of growth before these plantings will produce shoots which can be used for cuttings," he said.

"When these cuttings are ready, Australia's current and prospective cider apple growers will have somewhere they can source a good quantity of grafting material."

The DPI's interest in cider began from humble beginnings.

It began through a staff member who worked in meteorology, David Pickering, who had a personal interest in cider apples.

When he was leaving the department, he spoke with Kevin and they decided that the DPI could be more involved which would have benefits for existing clients in the apple industry.

"I started looking at what I could do to carry on what David had been doing in the background," Kevin said.

"Because I am located at Tumut, I am very close to the apple growers in and around the region and I got involved with the Batlow CiderFest.

"I established and ran a conference for cider producers from 2013 to 2018, and that got me directly involved with the industry myself.

"Now I am fostering the growth of not only the cider industry but cider fruit production as well."

Through that conference, the DPI, and Kevin in particular, developed a relationship with Cider Australia which led to the conference growing to a national event, held the first time this year in Hobart.

"Because of our association with Cider Australia through the conference, we were directly engaged in discussions about the needs of the industry for it to continue to grow and benefit consumers and growers alike," Kevin said.

"To progress, there was a need to address some of the research and development questions.

"A wishlist of R&D questions that needed to be addressed was developed and the Australian Cider Research and Development Program (ACRAD) was created.

"To get this research started, the group is looking for funding as the cider industry does not impose a levy so there is no money put aside for research.

"As part of ACRAD, NSW DPI picked up the growing systems program which is the apple or pear fruit growing component.

"That is where these new plantings come into the program, displaying that we think there is a future for the industry and are willing to invest in it."

The plantings take the old figure of 20 to 30 trees up to around 300, with some varieties having 12 individual scion wood supply trees.

Kevin hopes the new trees will help take the cider industry and fruit production to the next level.

"We want more and more ciders made from cider apples rather than culinary apples or a mix of both," he said.

GROWING: Young fruit from one of the established cider apple trees at the Ag Institute in Orange.

GROWING: Young fruit from one of the established cider apple trees at the Ag Institute in Orange.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by