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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Development of An East Coast Broccoli Industry

Location: Vegetable Research

2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Breed for quality broccoli improvements desired by East Coast consumers. 2. Identify experimental hybrids with potential for further development. 3. Release hybrids that extend the growing window for broccoli production. 4. Produce sufficient seed of new released hybrids. 5. Develop a reliable grower base. 6. Establish an eastern broccoli distribution system.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Inbred broccoli lines adapted to the Southeast will be selected, and new hybrid combinations will be made using those lines. Regional trials will be established in the Southeast for testing new broccoli hybrids. ARS hybrids will be input into these trials along with hybrids from other programs. Extension guidance to new broccoli growers will be provided. Nutritional content of eastern broccoli will be determined to identify distinctness. This effort is a project under the “Specialty Crops Research Initiative”.


3.Progress Report

This research relates to inhouse project objective 3: Develop lines of broccoli improved for economically important traits.

Regional trials leaders of the East Coast Broccoli Project and supporting personnel met in Charleston on December 2nd to finalize evaluation criteria and trial design for this year’s growing season. During this meeting, protocols were established for: trial design for Phase I, Year 1 trials; broccoli evaluations, which will require use of a worksheet and score card; the logistics of trial seed distribution; and sampling, preparation, and shipment of samples for nutritional analysis. Selections made during the summer of 2010 at Charleston were increased in the winter greenhouse to generate adequate seed for future testing.

Additionally, outdoor test cages were also set up to facilitate two different test crosses to generate hybrid seed for the 2012 Phase 1 Regional Trials. Seed of three test ARS hybrids generated in 2010 were included in the Phase 1 trials this spring at Charleston and also sent to project investigators at the University of Maine and Cornell for inclusion in their respective Phase 1 trials. The Phase 1 Trial component of the East Coast Broccoli Project for the Charleston location was successfully completed. The first plot was evaluated on 4 May, and the final plot was evaluated on 30 May. There was a wide range in overall quality spanning from the lowest mean quality of 1.33 to the highest mean of 3.83, all based on a one to five scale with five being the best. Although overall plant growth was vigorous and certain hybrids produced good quality heads, the temperature increased quickly about one month into the trial. As heads matured, we noted many indicative signs of heat damage: low bead uniformity, bracting (leaves intruding into the curd), light green to yellow head color, and in some cases, a complete failure to produce a head. These problems with quality were anticipated due to relatively high temperatures combined with a general lack of or limited heat tolerance of most commercial hybrids.


Last Modified: 9/20/2014
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