NE 183 meeting 1999 — minutes

Biglerville, PA — 5, 6 November 1999

The meeting began at 8.15 am. Attending were:

Andy Allen, LaMar Anderson, Cindy Barden, Bob Belding, Bill Teitjen, Rachel Byard, Ross Byers, John Clements, John Cline, Win Cowgill, Rob Crassweller, Charlie Embree, Elena Garcia, Duane Greene, George Greene, Peter Hirst, Larry Hull, Al Jones, Gary Kinard, Gail Lokaj, Bill Lord, Ron McNew, Ian Merwin, Diane Miller, Steve Miller, J.D. Obermiller, Teryl Roper, Dave Rosenberger, Bob Seem, Don Smith, Dick Straub, Ken Hickey, Keith Yoder.

Welcome and housekeeping remarks by George Greene. Welcome to research station by scientist in charge Larry Hull.

We went around the room and introduced ourselves. Chairman John Cline suggested we give our state reports by variety rather than by state, and limit our discussions to the 1995 planting. A motion was made to approve a revised agenda and this was passed unanimously.

Apologies were received from Cheryl Hampson, Cecil Stushnoff, Essie Fallahi and Susan Brown.

Addition and deletions: It was noted that Jim Schupp is now in New York rather than Maine.

Cecil Stushnoff was unable to attend the meeting but he sent some remarks which were conveyed to the group by John Cline. Marsha Stanton was hired last year by CSREES and was to be our representative, but she resigned during the last year. It was unclear whether Cecil will continue to be our CSREES rep in the meantime.

Future meetings:

2000 meeting — NC-140 will be hosted in Ohio. Diane Miller agreed to host NE183 also.

2001 meeting — a show of hands demonstrated that about half the group are members of NE183 and NC140. We agreed it was logical to meet in conjunction with NC140 when possible. In 2001 NC140 will meet in California, but there is no NE183 member in California. Teryl Roper will ask Scott Johnson (NC-140 California rep) if they will host us as well as NC-140 in 2001. The group concurred on 2 plans for 2001:

Plan A. Meet with NC140 in California

Plan B Meet in conjunction with Michigan Horticultural meeting. Al Jones expressed a willingness to host us in Michigan.


1. USDA-ARS Fruit quarantine lab. Gary Kinard

Gary Kinard with the USDA-ARS fruit quarantine lab gave a presentation on quarantine procedures. He explained that APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) are responsible for approving procedures and for granting the final release of material and USDA-ARS are responsible for carrying out tests in accordance with the procedures laid down by APHIS. Gary gave an overview of indexing imported budwood for viruses — the more material the donor can supply the quicker it is likely to go through the process. The number of staff dealing with pomes in the quarantine office is due to increase from 1.5 FTE to 3.0 FTE. Quotas have been set to establish capability and in year 2000 there are 50 slots reserved for pomes — (40 apple and 10 pear/quince accessions). George Greene suggested that the NE-183 group form a committee to make a short list of material we would like to see imported. Ian Merwin agreed to take this list forward from our group to the CGC (Crop Germplasm Committee).

2. Plum pox update — George Greene

George Green gave us an update on the Plum Pox situation in Pennsylvania. The 2 townships in Adams county where plum pox has been positively identified have been quarantined. So far, pox has only been found within 2 miles of the original detection site. State and federal agencies, along with PSU and the industry are hopeful that this virus can be contained and eradicated, but it is too early to say whether this will be possible.

Horticulture subcommittee

Bob Belding will revise the protocol and update variety name changes — this will be sent out on the listserve.

Pest Management Subcommittee

Don Johnson was not present at the meeting but no changes to the protocol were planned. Pathology work was due to continue for one more year and then entomology work was to begin. The pest and disease group will sort out the details over the listserve.

Economic Subcommittee

Bill Lord has developed a spreadsheet to measure tree value. He handed out a sheet requesting detailed information for a few cultivars to be entered into his spreadsheet to calculate the net present value of trees.

Fruit Quality Subcommittee

No changes to the protocol were proposed by the sub-committee. Ian Merwin asked how long do we need to continue with detailed measurements now that we have 3 years data from the 1995 planting. Following discussion, a motion was unanimously passed that detailed fruit quality data would be collected for one more year and then the data would be published while it is still new and useful to the industry. After 2000, there will be no more comprehensive, coordinated data collected and local options on the fate of the planting would be followed. Bon Belding will include this in the revised protocol to be sent out.

Photographic Subcommittee

Susan Brown would like any photographs that folks have — any format is acceptable, whether on film (prints, slides) or digital.

1995 Planting

Coordinator Rob Crassweller prepared a data summary of the data submitted to date which he handed out. He mentioned that some people have not yet turned data in and encouraged cooperators to do this. A full data set would be necessary to complete the publications after 5 years. Ian Merwin suggested a survey of cooperators to find out why trees died. The group concurred and Rob agreed to send such a survey out. Rob would like to put out a publication after 5 years. After discussion, it was agreed that 2 publications would be written — one discussing fruit quality and the other tree data. There was some urgency to get these papers out before the cultivars in the planting become old. These papers are only to include the horticultural plantings since the disease plantings may have been negatively affected by scab where they weren’t sprayed. The papers will be published in the Journal of the American Pomological Society (formerly Fruit Varieties Journal) and also in popular industry publications following the model of NC-140. Some discussion of how to handle weather data took place without resolution. George Greene suggested the possibility of collaborative publications with NE-103 (postharvest physiology).

The following areas for additional papers, and the person agreeing to coordinate them were:

  1. Diseases — Al Jones
  2. Fruit quality — Steve Miller
  3. Vegetative growth — Bob Belding
  4. Weather — Diane Miller
  5. Nutrition — Ian Merwin

1999 Planting

It was agreed that this coming year we will count the number of flower clusters per tree, and then leave it as a local option whether to crop the trees or defruit them.

2002 Planting

A subcommittee consisting of Duane Green, Susan Brown, Cheryl Hampson, Bruce Barritt and Joe Goffreda will explore varieties for a new planting.


Elena Garcia was nominated as secretary for 2000, vice-chair for 2001 and chair for 2002 and elected unanimously.

Report from advisor

Bob Seem reported that the project sailed through the review and was approved. We are now rolling for another 5 years. The passage of the farm bill brought changes and life for regional projects will be simplified. Approval will now take 3-6 months (c.f. 2 years) to be more responsive to needs and issues. Due to this simplification, there may be more projects coming online which could cause a problem for long-standing projects in that directors may cancel or not renew them. We may therefore need to re-design the project. Directors will have more freedom how they spend the money. Hopefully the new process will have shaken out by the time we need to renew the project. Marsha Stanton was our CSREES representative, but she resigned during the year and we are not sure who our new rep is. Following Jim Schupp’s move to New York, John McCue is acting as the temporary rep to NE183 from Maine. The project should have its own impact statement — we should do this as we write up the summary papers for the first planting for publication. We should stress impacts rather than scientific merit. We originally planned to ask NE directors for financial assistance for the web site that would be off the top and one off. Bob is not sure this is wise. It is now expected that regional projects will have a web site. Some institutions may be able to contribute to web site from multi-state funds.

Other reports.

1. Selections from Arkansas

Andy Allen extended an invitation from Curt Rom for collaborators to receive trees of his varieties to test since the Arkansas breeding program is winding down. Those interested in testing material should contact Curt Rom. Ian Merwin suggested Curt be involved in being on the subcommittee to choose varieties for the new NE183 planting, and this was generally agreed by the group.

2. Web site

Win Cowgill has put some state reports on the virtual orchard web site. These are self-updatable by NE-183 members. Win asked what content we wanted on the web site. Putting state reports online is easy and they could be password protected. Win made a motion that next year all state reports should be submitted electronically to him for posting in the members only section of the web page, and that this would take the place of state reports on paper. A one paragraph summary on each variety would be posted on the public section of the web page. Following a lengthy discussion, this motion was passed unanimously. Therefore, next year these electronic submissions will take the place of distribution of state reports on paper. Financial support for the web page is required, and Bob Seem will write a letter to experiment station directors asking for web site support and then we should follow up each with our own director.

State reports

John Cline formulated a list of discussion criteria for each variety. Dave Rosenberger suggested we vote on each variety as to it’s promise/future based on individual experience with the cultivar. There were 20 possible votes for each variety. Diane Miller agreed to write a summary of each variety and post it on web for us to comment on, and then have these summaries posted in the public area of the NE-183 website. These comments could also be expanded to form the basis for an article to be published in Industry Publications such as The Goodfruit Grower, The Fruitgrowers News, etc.


Promising: 4

Not promising:

Easy tree to grow and an annual bearer (MI). Early budbreak was a concern from a disease point of view (VA) and early bloom along with Braeburn may cause pollination problems. Good fruit quality (MI, NC, NY) but can display profuse russeting (AR, NC). Described as a Gala-type apple with fruit size equal or smaller than Gala. It responds well to Retain and so it will hang on the gtree to attain color, but iot loses flavor. In several sites fruit were found to be greasy (MA, OH). It doesn’t seem to do well in warm environments. Many in the group saw this apple as too similar as Gala and in the same season and so had limited enthusiasm for its future.


Promising: 3

Not promising: 10

In some sites the tree was found to be very weak growing, especially on dwarfing rootstocks (NC, NY). Attractiveness to mites was observed in almost all sites. Early bloom and susceptibility to spring frost was a concern, as was fireblight sensitivity in AR and scarf skin in WV. The group had no real opinions on the tendency for biennial bearing at this stage. Ohio doesn’t have the season for it. Many in the group liked the apple but didn’t like the tree.


Promising: 9

Not promising: 4

Comparison with the old Hawkeye Red Delicious were made in MI and NY, but not at all similar to this in WV. Aggressive thinning is necessary for good fruit size, but thins easily (NC). Slightly tart in MA and WV. Susceptible to Brook spot (VA) and more susceptible to scab than Red Delicious (NY) or similar in scab susceptibility as Golden Delicious in VA. Not very biennial. Vigorous tree in NC, NJ.


Promising: 2

Not promising: 5

WV — very poor color and disappointing flavor (good flavor last year). OH — large difference among sites (fruit in PA look a lot different to OH). PA — variable among years. WV —lost trees to fireblight, but a growers tree in terms of tree habit, spur structure. PA — weak trees in first few years but growing better now. Weak trees also in NJ. VA- most susc to cedar rust. Ont — heavy drop, but may have been too late with harvest. NY — little drop. MA — very juicy, "magnificent fruit". NY — if we need to wait to get flavor (high starch ratings) but concern over storage life. A range in harvest dates across sites in terms of DAFB. Very productive in some sites, average in MA and low in MI.



Not promising: 5

NY — vigorous, non precocious, greasy on tree, bitter pit or brooks spot. Merwin "just another big red apple" biennial. MA — warm season it tastes ok but cool season no flavor. Large attractive fruit PA. Tough skin. NY — skin the most negative aspect (Rosenberger). Much better on dwarfing tree. Not suited to high density. Hangs well in many sites. Many consider it has high potential as a good processing apple. Trees in VA with bad measles. WV — needs a lot of Ca applications. Can get greasy on tree if harvest delayed. Rosenberger — high potential for growing fruit without fungicides. High resistance to cedar apple rust and mildew(?). Wv — bitter rot, moderately susc. PA — a better processor than Rome, more juicy (WV). OH good for homeowner who wants a red apple. Yoder — very improved Rome from a disease point of view. WV/VA — has been planted for processing, but not widespread. George Greene "better than Rome".


Promising: 5

Not promising: 5

Merwin — can be very biennial but if you thin then fruit is too large. All the problems of Northern spy — better quality under a cool summer, but even in NY this is only about half the time. Yoder - Late bloom and moderate disease susceptibility. NC — soft on the tree. NY — black rot and bitter rot, pigmy fruit, trees died of fireblight. MA — very irregular fruit shape — thin with Accel accentuates misshapen fruit.


Promising: 13

Not promising: 1

MA — a roadside market apple, very sweet. Appeals to some ethnic populations. AR — popular with Asian and Hispanic populations. Not reasonable to compete with west coast in wholesale markets. MA — matures before Rome. WV — can be bland until very ripe, but other years they become sweet early — variable. Good shelf life and storage life. WV — still edible out of storage in June. WI — marginal in terms of maturity. NY — blister spot susceptible. Some cracking associated with lenticels. Russet associated with pesticide usage — some use of Provide (NY). An example of a variety that isn’t great cosmetically, but has still become a major world variety therefore we should be cautious about discarding varieties because of cosmetic appearance(Merwin). Thinning can be difficult. Very biennial in many environments. Cline — Ethrel 6 weeks after bloom helps with flower initiation (3 x 300 ppm ethrel). Byers — it has processing potential — dual purpose apple is an added benefit.

Gala Supreme

Promising: 0

Not promising: 8

NC — blooms well but doesn’t set well. Poor quality fruit. MA "a dog". Yoder — surprisingly resistant to scab, rust and powdery mildew, good flavor and color, misshapen fruit. WV, productive, large rough lenticels, poor appearance, bland flavor. WI - poor fruit size, even with good thinning. Bad fruit drop in NY but not bad drop other places.

Ginger Gold


Not promising: 1 (too early for AR market)

Merwin — great for fungicide sales. MA — large harvest window. VA — hangs well on tree. If harvested too early then poor flavor, but later harvest may overlap with Gala. Easy to overthin. MA — somewhat self thinning. VA — regular bearing. NC — difficult to set, but sells well as an early apple. Crows really like it. Very susceptible to fireblight. Rosenberger — a "timebomb in areas with fireblight risk" but not a lot seen in grower orchards yet, and susceptible to mildew (Yoder echoed these comments). Rosenberger — summer rot susceptibility. Susceptible to scab also. MA — a lot of variability of firmness across tree.


Promising: 10

Not promising: 6

Good potential for roadside markets. Merwin — "close to a perfect tree", in terms of growth habit and precocity. NY — seen starch ratings in 2-3 range but with 16% soluble solids. Severe cracking every year in WV similar to Stayman cracking. Also severe cracking in NJ. Many areas having trouble ripening this variety on the tree. Merwin passed on comments of Cornell post harvest physiologist who thinks this variety may need a period of chilling to ripen properly, similar to a pear. Susceptible to powdery mildew and cedar apple rust therefore may only save 1-2 fungicide applications because of scab resistance. Very good in cider.

Golden Supreme

Promising: 9

Not interested: 1

Cropping a problem in many areas. MA — least precocious and most biennial variety in the planting. Same in NY. VA — not very precocious. WV — fairly productive. Many areas like the fruit quality — a smooth Golden Delicious. Excellent storage potential (MA). Late bloom may be a problem with pollination. VA — susceptible to alternaria leaf blotch. Scab — middle of susceptibility range (VA). WV — very vigorous trees. Excellent fruit finish and fruit quality. Good early Golden Delicious type.

Honey Crisp

Promising: 13

No potential: 2.

Not a warm season apple (AR). NY — growers are planting trees in large numbers. Concern over leaf problem — not leaf hoppers as indicated by exclusion studies (Straub). Similar symptoms have been observed when leaves are loaded with CHO (comment from Schupp). High prices in NY around $30/bushel. OH — may set a new standard for fruit quality. Some questions over chilling injury in storage —35-38 may be a good storage temp (NY). Some chilling injury losses by growers in NY. Soft scald in storage NY. MA — stored at 32 and no soft scald. May be a regional problem — soft scald in trial in MA from WA and MI fruit but not from MA. Merwin — very good juiciness and texture but not much flavor. Some off flavors develop with more mature fruit — NY,OH and VT. MA — a mistake to delay harvest to attain color. MA — lack of flavor with later harvest. Post harvest characteristics included in MI report (Beaudry). Some bitter pit problems but less of a problem as trees age (WI). Ontario — a weak growing variety and not recommending it on dwarfing rootstocks. MA — very precocious. NS — always the smallest trees in terms of TCSA. Some question over source of budwood in terms of tree vigor — trees in NE183 planting are weaker than other trees with budwood from other sources.

NY 75414-1

Promising: 3

No potential: 9

MA — severe cracking. Also in WV. Rosenberger — brittle wood. Decay problems bad — black rot, white rot, bitter rot. Unpleasant aftertaste sometimes. MI — very productive — popular in apple sales at university market. VT — variable flavor year to year. Rosenberger — harvest date has a big influence on flavor, not very precocious. Some resistance to mildew and cedar apple rust. Open calyx and some mouldy core (Clements). Some potential for processing but not large enough. MA — soft, therefore no processing quality. "It’s a dog" — anonymous comment by WV USDA representative!


Promising: 0

No potential: 11

Not discussed in interests of time.


Promising: 9

No potential: 4

Interest only because time of ripening — not much in that season (consensus). Decent eating quality but size a concern (Rosenberger). Extremely biennial (almost absolute). Fairly attractive and large (7-10 days) harvest window (MA). Limited to roadside markets. Good potential for 10-20 trees in an orchard. Drops when ripe in some locations, WV, MI), multiple picks required. NY — some stem cracking.


Promising: 10

No potential: 1

Yoder — concern over virus (poor growth) so have had trees indexed — tomato ringspot and latent viruses present. Also latents and probably ringspot in trees in NY and WA.

Merwin — doubts we can make observations on this variety due to the presence of viruses. MA — drop is not a problem. Not a vigorous tree (Merwin) even with healthy trees. Belding — suggested we stop taking data on this variety due to virus infection of trees. D Greene wanted it kept in the study. Maybe we should collect fruit data but not tree data. MA- a great apple and he is recommending it. Merwin — suggested we make a disclaimer on website saying the reader should exercise caution in interpretation of data since the variety has virus and therefore may not be a true representation of the variety.


Only included in disease plantings. Very good in NY, similar quality toi Fuji but earlier, but in WV and MA pretty average. Some stem end cracking. WV — no russet at all, but poor color.


Promising: 7

No potential: 0

Generally, all the problems of Mutsu but no blister spot (not confirmed by specific tests), over sized fruit. Soft by early Dec, but good flavor (MA). Very vigorous in many sites but drops badly NY, VT. Marginal to mature it in WI. One of more susceptible to cedar apple rust and alternaria leaf spot (Yoder).


Promising: 9

No potential: 2

Good in OH but poor flavor in NY. Good flavor in NC. People love them or hate them, no middle ground. High yield in NY and WV, but very biennial (WV). Drop and russeted in WV, especially on blush side of fruit. Needs heat - in cooler years very tart but excellent flavor in higher heat environments (AR, MA). Flavor improves during storage (NJ). Some shriveling in storage (PA). OH — very popular with customers. MA — potential to develop aldehyde flavor.


Promising: 7

No potential: 5

WI — good quality for early season apple, good color and flavor. Rosenberger — poor shelf life (maybe harvested too late), but ok in WI and PA. MA — "worst apple I have ever seen for shelf life, but magnificent if harvested at the right time" — ok for one tree, but difficult management for commercial scale production. Ont — good if eaten soon after harvest, outstanding productivity.


Promising: 10

No potential: 1

MI — concern over budwood quality. NC — would rate it very low based on NE183 planting but very good in other plantings. PA — won’t compete in wholesale markets, but some potential as a Fuji look alike for roadside markets for those who can’t mature Fuji. MA — doesn’t have storage life of Fuji. NY — a poor substitute for Fuji.

Other business.

Protocol on drop data was discussed. We will weigh harvested crop and count drops, Ron McNew will estimate weight of fruit dropped using average fruit weight and this will also allow calculation of % fruit drop. The year after we finish data collection people may delay harvest to measure drop as a local option.

Chairman John Cline extended gratitude to George Greene and Rob Crasweller for their excellent job with the local arrangements. John also extended appreciation to Ron McNew, project statistician, for his contribution to the project.

Adjournment. At 12.10pm on Nov. 6

Submitted by Peter Hirst, Secretary NE-183, 1999.