Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Las Cruces, New Mexico » Cotton Ginning Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #382073

Research Project: Improving the Production and Processing of Western and Long-Staple Cotton and Companion Crops to Enhance Quality, Value, and Sustainability

Location: Cotton Ginning Research

Title: 'NuMex Odyssey', a New Mexico-type green chile pepper for mechanical harvest

item WALKER, S - New Mexico State University
item Funk, Paul
item JOUKHADAR, I - New Mexico State University
item PLACE, T - New Mexico State University
item HAVLIK, C - New Mexico State University
item TONNESSEN, B - New Mexico State University

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/7/2021
Publication Date: 10/29/2021
Citation: Walker, S.J., Funk, P.A., Joukhadar, I., Place, T., Havlik, C., Tonnessen, B. 2021. 'NuMex Odyssey', a New Mexico-type green chile pepper for mechanical harvest. HortScience.

Interpretive Summary: The state of New Mexico's iconic crop is chile, but production has steadily declined due to US labor costs being more than wage rates elsewhere. Harvest mechanization is key to the retention of domestic production, and it requires a system-wide transformation that includes changes in processing plants, harvest machinery, production practices, and genetics. Ten years of selective breeding and field trials have culminated in this release of a chile pepper variety that is ideally suited for mechanical harvest. The NuMex Odyssey grows a minimum of horizontal branches, sets its fruit high above the ground, and results in more undamaged peppers harvested by mechanical means than any other cultivar.

Technical Abstract: The New Mexico State University Agricultural Experiment Station announces the release of ‘NuMex Odyssey’, a New Mexico type chile pepper (Capsicum annuum) cultivar that is efficient for mechanical harvest of green fruit. This cultivar is an open-pollinated New Mexican (NM) fruit type for green chile pepper processing. ‘NuMex Odyssey’ was developed with an emphasis on traits critical for efficient mechanical harvest with an inclined double helix type picking mechanism. Such traits include a high percentage of plants with single stems and increased height to fruit set (main bifurcation). 'NuMex Odyssey’ possesses traditional New Mexican green chile pepper flavor, low heat, and provides a higher percentage of mechanically harvested, marketable green chile pepper fruit compared to current, standard industry NM type green chile pepper cultivars. ‘NuMex Odyssey’ is recommended for direct seeding in the spring in southern and central New Mexico.