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U.C. Strawberry Breeding Program Update – by Dr. Steve Knapp

Breeding Program Rebuilding with 188 Varieties Planted for Evaluation
The next-generation of the University of California Strawberry Breeding Program began operations in February. Steve Knapp (Professor) and Glenn Cole (Staff Research Associate) have since criss-crossed the state, meeting with growers and colleagues, identifying cooperators, and preserving and multiplying germplasm.

Significant efforts have been made to:

  • assemble and analyze pedigree records
  • plan and execute new breeding work
  • establish a new state-of-the-art genetics and genomics laboratory to support the breeding program
  • recruit, select, and mentor staff and graduate students
  • invest in facilities and equipment
  • organize, and plant yield trials in Ventura, Santa Maria, Watsonville, and Salinas

The yield trials are a critical element of the transition of the breeding program. The University of California is committed to developing and delivering outstanding cultivars and ensuring that promising transition cultivars are identified and advanced without delay on behalf of the strawberry industry in California. Testing is underway with 116 short-day ‘transition’ cultivars (advanced selections) in Ventura and Santa Maria and 72 day-neutral transition cultivars in Santa Maria, Watsonville, and Salinas. These cultivars originated from crosses produced at UC-Davis between 2004 and 2012. The yield trials are being grown and managed in collaboration with Dave Murray (Ventura), Dave Peck (Santa Maria), Greg France (Santa Maria), Tom AmRhein (Watsonville), and Jose Garcia (Salinas).

Field days will be organized in Spring 2016 and results of these yield trials will be reviewed and reported at grower and other meetings in 2016.

You can find more information on the website of – California Strawberry Commission