Grower group teams with Cornell University to test new berries

07/05/2012 03:46:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

growers evaluate new raspberriesCourtesy New York State Agricultural Experiment StationNew York berry growers will get a chance to evaluate potential starwberry and raspberry releases under an arrangement made with Cornell University.The Sanborn-based New York State Berry Growers Association and Cornell University's breeding program have teamed up to evaluate elite strawberry and raspberry selections.

As part of the arrangement, participating association members will test elite selections in their fields and provide feedback to Cornell, according to a news release.

Elite selections are those that have passed several screening criteria imposed by breeders and could potentially be new releases.

Less than one-tenth of 1 percent eventually make that designation.

"When we learned that hands in the field are one of the biggest limiting factors in evaluating new berry varieties, we offered to be those hands," Dale Ila Riggs, association president and co-owner of The Berry Patch, Stephentown, said in the release.

The collaboration also will lead to more thorough testing, since the large-scale field plots are 200-fold larger than those of Cornell breeder Courtney Weber.

Cooperating growers, in turn, will experience firsthand the new varieties before they're released.

The first selection to be tested through this cooperative program is a strawberry variety next spring.

If you grow berries in New York and want to participate, contact association executive director Paul Baker at

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