Factors in Berry-Splitting in Blueberries Examined


By Sharon Durham
May 26, 2011

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers and a university colleague have found several factors involved in blueberry splitting, a significant problem that can cause losses of $300 to $500 per acre.

Splitting and cracking occur in southern highbush and rabbiteye blueberries if they receive preharvest rainfall when fully ripe or approaching ripeness, according to scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS). ARS is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency.

ARS horticulturist Donna Marshall, retired horticulturist James Spiers and geneticist Stephen Stringer at the ARS Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory in Poplarville, Miss., and University of Southern Mississippi associate professor Kenneth Curry collaborated on the research studies published inHortScience .

In the first study, published in 2007, the researchers developed a laboratory method to model rain-related splitting in blueberries. Many blueberry breeders throughout the country are using this method to more vigorously screen cultivars and selections for splitting susceptibility. The results from field and laboratory tests showed that the rabbiteye cultivar “Premier” has the lowest incidence of splitting, while widely grown cultivar “Tifblue” exhibited a high incidence of splitting.

Read more about this and research at: bit.ly/LXCqt2 

From eXtension.org

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