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5000 trees – for a stroke of luck

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5000 apple trees – are long-term and sustainable – and this is for real


In mid-November 2017, we planted 5000 fresh apple trees in our breeding fields. Nota bene 5000 different individuals, 5000 different varieties, a wealth of colours, shapes and flavours, which we will then explore in the next few years. For example, crossings in which we try to combine the hanging habit of an ornamental Malus variety with more resistance and better fruit quality. Many crosses are to improve the texture of the Redlove apple and to make them more storable as well. This also includes crosses that seek to combine the lack of seeds in 19th century American varieties with the fruit quality and resistance of modern Lubera varieties. And so on…

The 5000 apple trees (which are pars pro toto for all our breeding efforts, in which tens of thousands of seedlings of other types of fruit are grown every year) mean one thing above all: we are committed, even in the longer term, to being responsible for more diversity, better varieties and resistant fruit species. The planting of 5000 apple seedlings means a commitment that extends 15 years and sometimes 30 years into the future – well beyond my own professional career:


The now-planted apple trees were


Crossed in 2014,


Grown as seedlings in 2015 and tested and selected for susceptibility for the first time,


Grafted in 2016 onto the weak growing rootstock M9 and planted in the nursery,


And then planted in the field in autumn 2017.


In 2019, we expect to harvest the first fruits. Because we have already grown the grafted plants for two years in the nursery, we hope that the plants in the field yield earlier and faster.


In 2020/21, we hope to complete the selection of genotypes,


In 2021/22, we will propagate 20-30 trees of all the interesting selections in order to test them in a second testing level.


In 2022/23, we will plant them again in our experimental fields.


2027-2030: at the end of the 2020s, the variety candidates will emerge; in exceptional cases, even earlier.


2027-2037: many crossings are also designed to produce only an interim result, and that after the selection of additional crossings, e.g. sibling crossings must be done. This process begins in 2024/25 and will last until the 2030s.


This could almost make you feel dizzy. Vertigo is not a real problem, but a time perspective that threatens to escape our own lives. Now it’s December 2017. I was born in 1963. I founded my company Lubera® in 1993. We breed with some varieties that were probably sown by Johnny Appleseed at the beginning of the 19th century in his nurseries in the Midwestern United States...


What are we doing here? Are we crazy?

Yes, a little bit. Above all, we think in a sustainable and long-term way. And we do not do that by indulging in the certification epidemic, which is nothing but rampant irresponsibility. The more and more prevalent certificates (we also have to join Globalgap and Swissgap and other idiocies for some major customers) mean nothing else than washing your hands in innocence and transferring responsibility to the certificate and to the certification company. So that's the “system”, and that consists of…all of us...It's also completely consistent when large corporations can easily invent certifications and labels themselves. Why not? Then an advisory board is chosen, equipped with some well-paid participants from the growing club of non-governmental organisations (such as environmental associations, other associations for something or against something) and, finally, only one certification company must be paid for, uh, paid off...and the thing already runs so perfectly like the groovy certification stamp!

You read and almost hear it: I am furious. And so that I can calm down over and over again, every year we plant thousands of seedlings with a similar time frame to those above mentioned 5000 apple trees.


The trees are our certificate. And you, dear readers and Lubera customers, you certify us every day and every year.


And we thank you for that.

 

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