Developmental Trends in Spanish Citriculture Cultivars
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This study discusses the varietal composition of citriculture from 1966/67 to 2007/08 and current trends in the introduction and spread of new cultivars. Data have been taken from three main sources: the Statistical Annual Records of the Ministry of Agriculture; records of the number of plants pertaining to different cultivars sold by nurseries; and, interviews with marketing companies and agricultural co-ops. Concerning trends, we have found that although the Spanish citrus industry encompasses a very wide variety, if one takes into account the number of groups that account for the greatest production, production is focused on three main varietal groups: lemons, Navel oranges and Clementines. In early Clementines, there is constant demand for the supply of new cultivars, which often originate from mutations, despite their disadvantages such as small fruit size, need for thinning, multiple bud formation and short marketing period. There are new cultivars or clones which, although they do not alter the composition of the major groups, represent a qualitative improvement within their group. Thus, the Clemennules group is expanded and improved by the Orogrande and Nulessin; the Navel group with Powell, Rohde, Barnfield and the Valencia group with Barberina, Midknight, Late Frost and Delta Seedless. There is a very wide variety of early clementines, although only Oronules, Arrufatina and Clemenrubi seem commercially viable. The main conclusion confirms that there is continual modification to the varietal composition brought about by the producers, who are driven by the income-risk criterion. When a cultivar becomes commercially obsolete, the producer must substitute it with another more widely accepted one. Markets are witnessing a slow growth in mandarins, while mandarin hybrids have brighter prospects. Late and mid-season Navel cultivars are well accepted on the market, particularly the domestic market.