2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The primary goals of this planning grant are:
1. To assemble an industry focus group that advises on research needs regarding apple, peach, cherry and pear rootstock research.
2. To conduct a tree fruit rootstock conference that brings together multidisciplinary researchers and a larger group of industry representatives including nurseries and growers to identify, prioritize research objectives and assess potential impact on profitability of the tree fruit industry and rural development.
3. To create novel networks for rootstock research that feature economists, social scientists, tree fruit physiologists, root researchers, propagation researchers, plant pathologists, plant genomicists, plant breeders and engineers.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
The 30+ scientists collaborating in the NC-140 regional project “IMPROVING ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN TREE-FRUIT PRODUCTION THROUGH CHANGES IN ROOTSTOCK USE” have made significant contributions to tree fruit rootstock research. Emerging technologies and novel concepts for rootstock propagation, rootstock effects on orchard establishment and management need to be identified and assessed for potential impacts on the profitability of the tree fruit nursery industry, the tree fruit industry and related industry sectors (e.g. biotechnology). This grant will allow the assembly of a focus group composed of representatives from tree fruit nurseries and tree fruit growers to advise researchers collaborating in this project on priorities and areas of interest. We plan to bring together this focus group twice during the preparation of the full proposal to the SCRI. One of the the venues will be the annual meetings of the NC-140 group. The annual meetings of the International Fruit Tree Association (www.ifruittree.org) are the flagship industry meetings for education on research on rootstock and tree fruit topics. They are attended by a combination of nurseries, tree fruit growers, packers and represent a good slice of the industry that we intend to address. We have contacted and intend to partner with this association and sponsor a session of their annual meetings. This session will feature invited speakers covering themes about innovation and networking and a town hall meeting model with professional moderators and then separate smaller focus groups that will distill and identify research priorities and areas of interest that need to be addressed in the full proposal. The interdisciplinary principal investigators and collaborators will draft a plan, identify and secure funding sources for the SCRI non-federal matching requirements, study the feasibility of that plan with the advisory focus group and prepare a proposal that meets the challenges of the tree fruit industry.
SCRI Proposal submission.
During the past year we have assembled several industry/scientific focus groups to develop research priorities for apple, peach, cherry and pear rootstock research. We also organized a tree fruit rootstock conference in collaboration with the International Fruit Tree Association that brought together multidisciplinary researchers and a large group of industry representatives including nurseries and growers to identify, prioritize research objectives and assess potential impact of proposed research on the profitability of the tree fruit industry and rural community development. The focus groups, which were attended by rootstock scientists and industry representatives, were held in conjunction with several nationwide industry or scientific meetings like the NC-140 rootstock research committee annual meetings in Provo, UT on Nov. 2, 2010, the meetings of the Washington State Horticultural Society in December 2010, the Great Lakes Fruit Expo in Michigan in December 2010, the New York Apple Research and Development board meetings in December 2010, the California Pear Research Committee in December 2010 and several other extension/industry meetings attended or organized by the project directors of this proposal. As a result of these efforts a novel network of rootstock researchers that include economists, social scientists, tree fruit physiologists, root researchers, propagation researchers, plant pathologists, plant genomicists, plant breeders is preparing to submit a grant proposal to the NIFA-SCRI in January 2012 which addresses the needs and priorities identified and supported by the U.S. temperate tree fruit industry.