In 2018/19, 25.5 kilos of apples were consumed per person in Germany – either as fresh fruit or as fruit products such as compote or juice. Apples are grown on 33,966 hectares throughout the country. On the German Apples Day on January 11, we give you an impression of Hochschule Geisenheim University's apple research.
Automation and digital technologies have become an integral part of horticultural production. To foster sustainability in apple production and storage in Germany, the Department of Pomology at Hochschule Geisenheim University has initiated the research project "Apple4.Null" in collaboration with its partners and with funding from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). Within the scope of the project, scientists are using sensors to monitor weather conditions and other factors that have a major influence on fruit quality and shelf life during the ripening process and the post-harvest period. The results are used to optimize the various processes of apple production and storage, such as irrigation, which is Hochschule Geisenheim University's research focus. Plant protection products are applied by a sprayer that uses weather data as well as geo-information systems and knows the biomass in the area thanks to LiDAR sensor technology. As part of the project, scientists are also working on tailor-made defrosting algorithms to make storage systems for pome fruits more efficient and gentle. New technologies that are developed within the project are directly applied in the orchard by commercial fruit growers.
What about other research projects? In addition to growth forms, such as columnar trees, the Department of Pomology focuses on red flesh color, improving fruit quality, and resistance to fruit tree canker. Cider fans will also find something to their taste with the project "Implementing Cider Fruit Cultivation in Hesse", which aims at increasing the share of regional resources in the production of apple juice and cider.
For further information on the Department of Pomology and its research projects, please go to: https://www.hs-geisenheim.de/obstbau