August, 1998

IDFTA forms new partnership in apple rootstock research

A unique partnership of nurseries, growers and the IDFTA has been
established to provide much needed funding for research on apple rootstocks.
Federal and state support for agriculture research programs has declined in
recent years, and this has meant less funding for all tree fruit research and
particularly rootstock research.
With new rootstocks being released by breeders around the world like the
new JM. series from Morioka, Japan, and the G. rootstocks from Cornell
University in New York, it is imperative that they be critically evaluated for
ease of propagation and commercial potential. This is necessary to avoid the
expensive propagation of poorly performing rootstocks and to ensure that
only properly tested and superior rootstocks are planted in commercial
orchards. It can be an economic disaster for an orchardist if a tree is
unhealthy, unproductive or produces fruit of poor quality because of a poorly
adapted rootstock.
For many years the IDFTA has provided modest funding (recently $20,000
to $30,000 per year) to support rootstock research in the U.S. and Canada.
Funding has never been sufficient to adequately support worthy projects.
The IDFTA and nurseries which produce apple rootstocks have agreed
through a memorandum of understanding that the rootstock producers will
collect an assessment per rootstock liner and transfer the funds to the IDFTA
Rootstock Research Fund. Beginning in 1998, an assessment of one-half cent
per rootstock liner sold was collected by participating rootstock producers.
The IDFTA agreed to distribute the funds to worthy rootstock research
projects based on project proposals evaluated by the IDFTA rootstock
research committee. The 15-member committee is composed of growers,
nurserymen, researchers and IDFTA board members. Funds deposited in the
Rootstock Research Fund are not commingled with IDFTA business
accounts.
With a view to enhancing profitability of the apple industry through
increased research, the following apple rootstock producers have signed a
memorandum of understanding agreeing to collect the assessment and transfer
the funds to the IDFTA Rootstock Research Funds:
The "research partners" logo shown above will be used by these nurseries
in their catalogs, promotional material and advertisements to indicate their
participation in and support of expanded funding for apple rootstock research.
Finished tree nurseries are also partners. Finished tree nurseries that purchase
rootstock liners from the rootstock producers listed above will also display
the "research partners" logo in recognition of their purchase of rootstocks
from participating rootstock nurseries and their support of rootstock research.
The assessment on a finished tree basis is small. If a finished tree price is $5
and the rootstock liner assessment is $.005 per rootstock, the assessment rate
is 0.1% to 0.2% of the tree price (depending on the percentage of rootstocks
which become finished trees). In a typical year, 15 to 18 million rootstocks
are sold. At the assessment rate of $.005 per rootstock, $75,000 to $90,000
will be generated annually for rootstock research.
The partners in this research funding program are the rootstock producers,
the finished tree nurseries and orchardists, many of whom are members of the
IDFTA. The IDFTA is the partner that manages the funds, screens research
proposals and distributes the funds to worthy projects. Only through this kind
of partnership and with everyoneís cooperation can there be expanded
funding for apple rootstock research.
The IDFTA, on behalf of its members and all tree fruit producers, extends
its sincere appreciation to the apple rootstock nurseries and finished tree
nurseries for their foresight and strong support of expanded funding for apple
rootstock research.

The Great Lakes Fruit Growers News