UC Davis releases 5 new strawberry varieties

11-07-2019    01:45   |    Diane Nelson/University of California, Davis

The Public Strawberry Breeding Program at the University of California, Davis, has released five new varieties that will help farmers manage diseases, control costs and produce plenty of large, robust berries using less water, fertilizer and pesticides. Two of the new varieties could increase yields by almost 30 percent. 

“These new varieties are intrinsically different from the ones they replace,” said Steve Knapp, professor and director of the UC Davis Strawberry Breeding Program. “After more than three years of field tests, we’re seeing higher yields, greater disease resistance and better quality after harvest.”

The new pedigrees should benefit consumers, as well. “The price and quality of strawberries improve when farmers have access to varieties that help them grow better berries more cost efficiently,” said Dave Murray, a farmer and partner in Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.

Since its inception in the 1930s, the UC Davis Public Strawberry Breeding Program has developed more than 60 patented varieties, turned strawberries into a year-round crop and increased strawberry yield from about 6 tons per acre in the 1950s to more than 30 tons per acre today. The United States is the world’s largest producer of strawberries, and almost 90 percent of them are grown in California’s cool, coastal climates. About 60 percent of the state’s strawberry fields are planted with varieties developed at UC Davis.

Each of the new varieties will have its own farming niche — thriving better in certain environments under specific growing conditions. Three of the new varieties — Moxie, Royal Royce and Valiant — will perform well throughout the long, warm days of summer. Two varieties — Victor and Warrior — are bred for cooler climates from Santa Maria south along California’s coast.  

In general, all the new berries are large, flavorful, firm and disease-resistant. Victor and Valiant perform well in organic systems. Moxie and Royal Royce are showing yield increases of as much as 29 percent over previous UC varieties. 

You can find full descriptions of each variety on the UC Davis Office of Research website.

Click here to read the complete article at UC Davis.

Photo credit: Hector Amezcua/UC Davis

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