Submitted to: Mid Atlantic Fruit Vegetable Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 26, 2006
Publication Date: February 2, 2006
Citation: Lewers, K.S. 2006. Strawberry cultivars-what the future holds. Mid Atlantic Fruit Vegetable Conference Proceedings. P. 117-119.
The USDA-ARS strawberry breeding program at Beltsville, Maryland, has a long history of responding to the needs of the industry. Year-round strawberry production is needed in proximity to the largest segment of strawberry consumers. In response, this breeding program recently shifted focus toward the development of cultivars that will extend the strawberry production season. Repeat-fruiting cultivars (also known as day-neutral or ever-bearing cultivars) combined with a suite of early-, mid-, and late-season June-bearing cultivars should allow nearly continuous strawberry fruit production in the field and in protected cultivation. ‘Earliglow’ is still popular as an early-season cultivar due to its outstanding flavor, yield, disease resistance, and resulting ease of production. To fill the need for a high quality late-season June-bearing strawberry, ‘Ovation’ was introduced in 2003. This year a potential cultivar with an ideal mid-season production pattern was tested. B1033 (B759 × B786) scored average to better than average on all traits in observation plots and has an outstanding yield distributed across most of the season. In addition, unlike many cultivars, the fruit size did not significantly decrease through the season. Perhaps the greatest challenge will be the development of repeat-fruiting cultivars for the east coast. Unconventional approaches are required. Aside from developing repeat-fruiting cultivars, novel production methods also will have to be developed. Separate evaluation fields will be needed with crop rotation, production systems, and evaluation practices independent from those for the June-bearing selection evaluations.