Project Details


New Jersey is a major producer of both cranberries and blueberries with a current total industry crop value of over $111 million per annum. Since 2010, there are approximately 7,900 acres of blueberry and 3,200 acres of cranberry production in the state. Both crops can suffer major yield losses due to insects, disease, and adverse climatic conditions. Critical pesticides currently employed by the blueberry and cranberry industries may be restricted or have loss of label in the near future, making alternative approaches essential for the sustainability of these two industries. Development of disease-resistant cultivars would aid in reducing dependence on pesticides without increasing risk of crop loss, as well as providing a higher quality commodity. For New Jersey blueberry growers, traditional breeding objectives such as reliable productivity, winter-hardiness, frost-tolerance, and insect and disease resistance are still relevant. Furthermore, due to market competition from other blueberry production areas and labor issues, two desirable traits have emerged as primary: varieties with an earlier ripening season (7-10 days earlier than current varieties), and machine harvestability for fresh market. For New Jersey cranberry growers, the main emphasis needs to be directed towards increasing production efficiency due to the fluctuation of cranberry prices in recent years, and developing cultivars with increased resistance to the fruit rot disease complex. Classical plant breeding procedures, breeding and selections cycles, will be followed for both blueberry and cranberry, involving identification of prepotent parents, crosses for trait complementation and enhancement, and selection for adaptation, productivity, fruit quality, etc.The major impact of this program will be the development of cranberry and blueberry cultivars better adapted to a warmer climate thereby enhancing reliable production and economic sustainability, environmental compatibility, and 'value-added' nutrition.The breeding and genetics objectives outlined in this proposal will also provide a better understanding of the inheritance of characteristics in these species, and offer genetic tools to design more efficient blueberry and cranberry breeding programs.
Effective start/end date8/12/137/31/18


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))


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