Nova Scotia Apples - Grower Testing Association
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The Nova Scotia Fruit Growers' Association
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Grower Testing Association

The Grower Testing Association (GTA) was established by the Variety and Strains Committee (VSC) of the Nova Scotia Fruit Grower's Association (NSFGA). The GTA was formed to help the VSC:

1) seek new cultivars that will best satisfy the needs of growers and consumers
2) collect the necessary information on those cultivars, as grown in commercial orchards
3) share the information, particularly with packers and retailers, to ensure the chosen cultivars are aggressively marketed

These are all ongoing activities, as the need to continually evaluate new cultivars is expected to be long term.

The GTA is looking for cultivars that will increase returns because they are preferred by consumers, and that will decrease costs of production because they are well adapted to our conditions. We look at cultivars that are already named but new to our area, as well as selections from breeding programs.  The cultivars are identified from the literature, travel, personal communication, tours of research plots, or any other means at our disposal.

The GTA works closely with the Provincial Tree Fruit Specialist and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Those who sign up as members of the GTA are expected to be progressive growers who will look after their trees properly. Though cultivar performance under varying management techniques is one aspect of data collection that is important in on-farm plots, the varying management techniques should all be proper ones.

Information Gathering:
Each year, four cultivars are chosen for planting by the Grower Testing Association. One hundred and twenty of each cultivar, on M26 rootstocks, are divided evenly among four GTA members. Data collected from the GTA trees includes: total yield, pack out, tree habit, and consumer acceptance. Growers keep track of their management practices, and the varying management techniques are part of the study. The cultivars planted by GTA members since 1996 include:

1) Honeycrisp 
2) Rubinette
3) Gingergold
4) Arlet  
5) Fortune      
6) DeCoster Jonagold
7) Jonagored 
8) Creston
9) 8S-26-50
10) Myra Fuji
11) S43-44-54
12) Fiesta
13) S23-06-123
14) S47-03-33
15) S47-23-100

Information Dissemination:
As information is gathered, profiles of the entries are generated and compiled into annual reports that are included in the annual reports of the NSFGA and the Production Technology Branch of the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing. The Grower Testing Association will generate a factsheet on each entry judged suitable for production in our area. The GTA will then collaborate with the Quality and Storage and Market Development Committees of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers' Association to set intake standards and develop marketing strategies for the new cultivars.

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