Currently 14 raspberry, eight strawberry and one blackberry variety from the program are commercially available.
Heritage raspberry is the most widely planted primocane raspberry variety worldwide, and Royalty is the most widely planted purple variety in the world. Prelude raspberry is the earliest fruiting summer variety available to growers in the eastern U.S., and Encore is the latest fruiting summer raspberry available. Jewel and Bristol are the most widely planted black raspberry varieties in the eastern U.S.
Jewel and Honeoye strawberries are the most widely planted strawberries in New York, and in the northeast U.S. L'Amour and Clancy are gaining market share and are top sellers in the region.
Strawberries are the third most valuable fruit in New York. About 3.2 million pounds were harvested in 2014 and returned $7.5 million to growers, which places New York sixth in national fresh market production with the highest average price in the nation.
Raspberries brought in an estimated $4.8 million additionally. Much of the fruit was marketed directly by the more than 1,500 members of the New York State Berry Growers Association and New York State Farmers' Direct Marketing Association, thus providing significant income to a large percentage of New York's growers.
impact statement issue
Fruit growers throughout New York are increasingly turning to diversified cropping systems to mitigate price and environmental risks inherent to large-scale agriculture. Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are an important option for today's growers because they are some of the most profitable crops that can be grown in New York on a per-acre basis, with reported gross receipts of more than $20,000 per acre.
Currently available varieties have weaknesses in yield potential, pest resistance, fruiting season and fruit quality characteristics that limit the market for New York growers. Improving these traits in new varieties for New York will allow growers to be more profitable, provide consumers with a higher quality, more consistent product and protect the environment of New York by reducing chemical pesticide use.
impact statement response
The small fruits breeding program at Geneva has been developing improved berry varieties for over 100 years. Breeding continues in strawberry, raspberry and blackberry with the evaluation of thousands of seedlings and selections annually for improved yield potential, fruit quality and pest resistance.
Additionally, advanced selections are being tested in 10 states and seven foreign countries to evaluate performance over a wide range of climates. Currently, three strawberry selections and six raspberry selections are in the final stages of testing before commercial release.
The most recent release of new strawberries was in 2012 with Herriot and Walker, and the most recent raspberries are Crimson Giant in 2011 and Double Gold and Crimson Night in 2012.
In addition, the inheritance and mechanisms of resistance to phytophthora root rot, the most important raspberry disease worldwide, is being investigated with molecular techniques. The genomic regions responsible for resistance to this disease have been located, and the identification and cloning of the corresponding genes is being pursued to more fully understand resistance to this disease.
impact statement summary
Improved crop varieties are required to remain competitive in the global economy. Agricultural resources are increasingly allocated to benefit the large producer. However, the growing movement toward consumption of locally grown produce has made small- and medium-sized farms profitable.
The development of strawberry, raspberry and blackberry varieties adapted to temperate climates will help diversified growers remain profitable and competitive with large producers in tropical and subtropical climates.