Submitted to: Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2011
Publication Date: December 1, 2011
Citation: Farnham, M.W. 2011. How do High Temperatures Limit Broccoli Production: Is It Possible for this Cole Crop to Take the Heat?. Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference. p. 51. Technical Abstract: It is generally thought that broccoli does not grow well in most environments during summer months in the eastern United States, because high temperatures can damage the developing heads causing the harvested vegetable to be unmarketable. Identification of broccoli varieties that produce a quality head during hot summer months could make it possible for eastern growers to produce this increasingly important vegetable, during a time of year they previously deemed too risky. The broccoli breeding program at the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, SC, has conducted a breeding effort for over a decade to select broccoli more adapted to the high temperature conditions that occur during Southeastern summers. Particular broccoli hybrids developed by crossing select lines from this program have been compared to some commonly-raised commercial hybrids in high temperature environments and also under more conventional conditions. When current commercial hybrids are tested in autumn field trials, nearly all produce good quality heads. However, these same hybrids fail to produce any marketable heads in summer trials. On the contrary, experimental hybrids developed at the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory produce similar good quality heads in both summer and autumn trials. Results show that the experimental hybrids are uniquely adapted to relatively high temperature environments. Commercial use of this adapted germplasm might facilitate the expansion of broccoli acreage in the East.