2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Organize a tree fruit rootstock conference that brings together multidisciplinary researchers and a large 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.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
During the coordinating committee meeting at the annual meeting of the American Society of Horticultural Sciences in August 2010 at Palm Desert, CA and additional advisory panel meetings with industry representatives in UT, WA, MI and PA we consolidated some of the rootstock industry research needs and began developing a white paper on the current status of rootstock research. The group of industry advisors and researchers have united under the name Root2Fruit to advance rootstock research to improve profitability and sustainability of the fruit industry. These coordinating meetings have been used to plan and organize a larger industry wide conference on rootstock research at the annual meeting of the International Fruit Tree Association (IFTA) in Feb 2011 in the Tri-Cities of Washington State. The meeting held in conjunction with IFTA will address a wide audience of U.S. temperate tree fruit growers and connect researchers with industry needs. IFTA then will serve as a nexus for disseminating knowledge about the Root2Fruit effort through its website and the Compact Fruit Tree scientific publication.
On March 2, 2011 we held a one day priority setting and education session about rootstock research priorities and potential impacts on co-sponsored by the International Fruit Tree Association (www.ifruittree.org) in Pasco, WA. These meetings were attended by a combination of nursery owners/operators, tree fruit growers, variety managers, marketers, fruit packers, researchers, extension specialists, farm managers and consultants all working on all aspects of production of the temperate tree fruit industry. The priority setting session featured a town hall meeting model where the state of the art of temperate tree fruit research was presented to attendees by lead U.S. researchers, followed by a discussion group that utilized real time wireless polling technologies to prioritize research to be planned/proposed in the next round of the NIFA-SCRI programs. As a result of these meetings, several priorities supported by the temperate tree fruit industry were identified and are being distilled into articles of the Compact Tree – the educational publication of the IFTA – which will reach a wide industry audience. In addition, several trade newspaper articles have featured this research planning effort. Propagation (efficiency, techniques, acclimatization, chip budding, germplasm, source material), sustainability (labor ergonomics and root efficiency), integrating rootstocks into management systems and root and soil interactions (replant problems) were among the priorities identified by the group. A network of researchers advised by industry is formulating a research proposal that will address topics within these research priorities.
Monitoring activities included attending the education session.