NE1839: Development and Evaluation of Broccoli Adapted to the Eastern US
(Multistate Research Project)
NE1839: Development and Evaluation of Broccoli Adapted to the Eastern US
Duration: 10/01/2018 to 09/30/2023
Statement of Issues and Justification
Importance of broccoli production to the Eastern US
The goal of NE_TEMP1839 is to support the development and commercialization of new, high quality, eastern-adapted broccoli hybrids by providing coordinated evaluations of broccoli crown quality and yield over a range of eastern environments. Broccoli is a major specialty crop with well-known nutritional benefits and a farm-gate value of over $800,000,000 (USDA-NASS, 2015). The rising importance and value of broccoli has led to renewed interest by Eastern U.S. producers, at a time when enthusiasm for locally grown food and transportation costs are also high. The proposed project will result in the availability to eastern growers of adapted broccoli hybrids that produce a high-value crop in climatically variable and challenging eastern environments.
Broccoli is a healthy vegetable that is in high demand by eastern consumers. The fundamental reason why broccoli production in the East is far lower than the regional demand is that most commercially available cultivars were bred for production in California, Arizona, and Mexico. They do not produce a marketable product (the broccoli crown) under the growing conditions of the eastern US because they are not well adapted to the climate. Warm nights during the growing season block the environmental cues causing flower buds to develop in synchrony (Farnham and Bjorkman, 2011b). Climate change will increase the need for adaptations to these conditions (Keefe, 2015, Springmann 2016). Such adaptations are difficult to breed for, and the small existing seed market has made that objective a low priority for seed companies.
The heightened demand for a regional supply of Eastern broccoli makes this a good time to create a self-sustaining larger market for adapted seed. Currently, broccoli supply to the eastern U.S. depends on production on the West Coast of the U.S. and in Mexico, incurring expensive and environmentally challenging transport. Buyers want regional supplies to satisfy consumer demand, but quality and reliability are non-negotiable for them. The SCRI-funded Eastern Broccoli project has overseen the development of heat tolerant varieties for eastern growers, and some of these are coming on the market now and in the near future. New, adapted broccoli hybrids can deliver the quality and consistency that buyers require. However, these new hybrids are just the beginning; breeding programs anticipate further improvements, including even better heat tolerance.
The development of the broccoli industry in the East provides economic development through production of a high-value crop, particularly in economically depressed rural communities; social benefits that include greater access to locally grown vegetables and a more resilient broccoli supply for eastern consumers; and environmental benefits from reduced use of transportation fuel and irrigation water, and from improved crop rotations on Eastern vegetable farms.
Needs as indicated by stakeholders and efforts of Eastern Broccoli Project
In support of the goal of developing an Eastern broccoli industry with an expected farm-gate value of $100 million by 2021, the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) funded the Eastern Broccoli Project (EBP). The industry stakeholders need high quality broccoli hybrids adapted to the diverse climatic conditions of the east to supply fresh, regional produce year-round. Year-round availability of eastern product will be possible through production that moves from the southeast to the northeast and back again.
An eastern supply of high-quality broccoli requires three components: improved broccoli varieties of broccoli, a skilled grower base, and a developed distribution chain. Most importantly, the successful and sustainable establishment of an Eastern broccoli industry depends on the continued availability of hybrids adapted to eastern environments. Specifically, those hybrids must consistently produce both high quality crowns and profitable yields. The strong grower base and distribution chain resulting from other portions of the EBP will ensure that demand for eastern-adapted cultivars remains high, so that developing, testing, and commercializing these new hybrids is a worthwhile endeavor for seed companies.
To that end, the EBP established a trial network and developed standardized rating protocols to conduct consistent evaluations of broccoli crown quality and marketable yield in production regions from Maine to Florida. The purpose of the NE_TEMP1839 Multistate project is to sustain the trial system beyond current SCRI funding so that it will continue to support the development and improvement of broccoli varieties that will allow eastern growers to produce high quality broccoli crowns that are acceptable to eastern buyers and consumers. We anticipate that other researchers working on broccoli will become aware of the trial system and make use of the evaluation service, or broccoli that comes from it, in their research (for example, in studies of nutrition, flavor, or postharvest treatment).
Presently, all three public broccoli breeding programs and several seed companies make use of the EBP trial system to assess the performance of new hybrids that are targeted to eastern growing regions. Turning the EBP trial-site system into a USDA Multistate Research Project ensures that the network continues to enable further improvement of cultivars targeted to eastern environments. The proposed project will enhance communication and coordination among EBP trial collaborators and offer evaluation expertise in support of broccoli breeding efforts. Furthermore, it will continue to foster the good working relationship between public and private (seed company) programs that has developed as a result of the EBP.
There are many advantages for doing the work as a multistate effort: having closely coordinated protocols makes the results more powerful; multiple plantings and locations deliver a wealth of information across numerous eastern environments and production seasons each year, increasing breeding efficiency; coordination among trial sites can lead to further external (federal or industry) funding; and the trial network can be expanded to include other brassicas (e.g. cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, etc.) with potential in the region. Seed company participants will learn about the performance across multiple environments of not only their own hybrids, but also promising public program hybrids that are available for licensing. They will also gain insights about the performance of competitors’ unreleased, anonymized, material. NE_TEMP1839 will foster collaboration among researchers working on similar problems and gives them the expertise to advise Extension personnel in other eastern states. Additionally, the multistate effort offers a useful arena for training graduate students at partnering institiutions in horticultural disciplines such as plant breeding, where there is a critical need for new scientists.
The consequences of not instituting NE_TEMP1839 include slower improvement of adapted broccoli and loss of both evaluation expertise and the coordinated network that is already in place. Testing broccoli hybrids would be more expensive and take years longer, which would discourage seed companies from developing cultivars for the east and reduce the intensity of public breeding. As mentioned previously, NE_TEMP1839 has the potential to expand to other brassica crops, but that capacity would be lost if the project were discontinued.
Related, Current and Previous Work
Related, Current and Previous Work
This trial system has been instrumental to the development of improved broccoli hybrids that are ready to be commercialized. These hybrids are sufficiently adapted to the east to reduce the risk of crop loss and extend the growing season to cover more of the year. Seed companies have already released several good hybrids for Eastern growers, and even better performing hybrids identified by Eastern Broccoli Project trials will be coming on the market over the next few years.
Breeding for eastern adaptation has been a recalcitrant problem because, until the EBP, essentially all hybrids were bred for western environments; if they succeeded anywhere in the East, it was by luck rather than design. At the start of the EBP, the most challenging traits were of only marginally commercial quality in both industry standards and the best performing pre-commercial broccoli hybrids. Now, better options are already on the market, and the best hybrids developed thus far are nearing full commercial quality.
The regional trial system has been instrumental to identifying the best hybrids developed by public and commercial breeding programs for the EBP. Quality and Yield trial protocols (as described in Objective 2), data collection sheets, and rating reference cards (Farnham et al., 2011c) were developed and standardized across locations. At each location, personnel have been trained to evaluate broccoli with respect to quality and marketability.
Recent hybrid entries from USDA and Cornell breeding programs have been the best performers in Quality Trials across multiple locations and years, and these programs are successfully creating and identifying inbreds (Farnham, 2013) and hybrids (Farnham and Bjorkman, 2011a) better adapted to the east. Private breeding programs of seed companies Syngenta, Seminis and Bejo have also used the EBP evaluation system to produce hybrids with improved adaptation; some were put on the market and others are in pre-commercial stages.
Thus far, 5 to 10 hybrids have shown superior adaptation in the extensive multi-regional Quality trials. The commercialization process takes up to five years from this point.
Commercialization by seed companies involves producing enormous quantities of hybrid seeds, identifying which seasons and markets each hybrid is best suited for, negotiating intellectual property agreements (if the material originates in public programs), and developing marketing strategies. EBP breeding has produced adapted hybrids that tolerate warmer conditions; these are beginning to come to market now. We anticipate that up to 6 new hybrids developed by EBP collaborators for eastern production regions will begin to come on the market by 2021. Because of these new hybrids, eastern growers will be able to expand their broccoli acreage, which will increase the demand for adapted seed and give seed companies an incentive to continue improving broccoli hybrids for East Coast production.
Even after hybrids currently headed for commercialization come on the market, the need for further improvements through breeding will remain. Breeding programs are already working to produce even better adapted hybrids and will incorporate other desirable traits as the market demands. Broccoli breeders have analyzed the genetic basis of broccoli heat tolerance using genome sequencing, which has provided an unprecedentedly high marker density for genotyping (Branham, 2017; Stansell 2018). These advances will speed the recovery of heat tolerance and the commercial broccoli phenotype in future breeding efforts. Genetic sources of resistance to various diseases exist in hybrids not well-adapted to the East and in related Brassicacultivars; public breeding programs have already begun to making crosses to incorporate such traits into the eastern-adapted broccoli and will rely on the trial service to test the resulting new hybrids for broad adaptation. Several groups are making good progress towards mechanical harvesters that would require cultivars with extended crowns; that trait is already available within public programs and could be combined with heat tolerance. All of these anticipated improvements are external to this project; however, the multistate trial system will provide definitive evaluations to ensure that “improved” hybrids retain the necessary level of adaptation to success in eastern markets.
Grower Support. A strong grower base is necessary to give seed companies a sizeable market for adapted seed and to produce the local supplies of broccoli that consumers demand. The Eastern Broccoli team has provided production support to eastern growers through one on one consultations, updates to local production guides, field days and demonstrations, and production related trials, such as population trials to identify the spacing that optimizes marketable yields of broccoli crowns (Ward et al. 2015). A series of studies are examining the impact of postharvest treatment and storage on broccoli quality (Wheeler et. al. 2017) and flavor (Wheeler et al. 2018), and a document providing guidance on postharvest cooling options is under development for release later this year. More recently, three separate studies were initiated to examine the impact on yield of mulch color, supplemental sulfur, and population; the last is specifically for a new hybrid that develops faster and has a smaller frame than commercial standards, making it ideal for use as a summer rotation crop. The Eastern Broccoli website (https://blogs.cornell.edu/easternbroccoliproject/) and blog (https://blogs.cornell.edu/easternbroccoliproject/main/posts/) regularly adds support material, such as crop budgets (Atallah and Gómez 2013) and food safety guidance. Yield trial leaders, in particular, maintain close communication with local growers.
Expansion of Eastern Broccoli Production
Eastern broccoli production increased during the first years of the EBP, climbing from 8,000 ac in 2007 to 11,000 ac in 2012, according to a custom analysis conducted for us by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (2017 results are being collected now.). An economic analysis performed by our team shows that there is still room for double the production area of Eastern broccoli.
While year-round availability of eastern broccoli is a goal, we have identified gaps in Eastern production, especially in spring and early summer. Hybrids that are now advancing in breeding programs will extend the season to year-round, with some overlap of harvest windows for robustness. For example, new hybrids have expanded the spring harvest window in the substantial North Florida production area in the spring and late-summer production window in the promising Western New York Region.
Working with public and private broccoli breeding programs, we will support the development and commercialization of new, eastern-adapted broccoli hybrids that will produce high quality broccoli crowns in climatically variable and challenging eastern environments. We will:
Engage public and private broccoli-breeding programs.
2. Evaluate new broccoli hybrids developed by public and private (seed company) breeding programs for quality and marketable yield potential at experimental and commercial scales, respectively, at multiple locations in the Eastern US.
3. Provide timely and relevant information to stakeholders (public and private breeding programs, growers, Extension personnel) through various means, including webinars, field days, trial reports, regional production recommendations, and a project website for use by researchers, extension, growers, and allied industry members.
Activities and procedures:
The activities and procedures of the multistate project are organized by objective as follow:
Objective 1. Engage public and private broccoli-breeding programs.
Under the Eastern Broccoli project, we established good relationships with the leaders of all three public breeding programs and several seed company programs, and we will continue to communicate with them regularly with respect to trial opportunities and results. Additionally, we will invite other seed companies that sell broccoli to growers in the Eastern US to make use of multistate Quality and Yield trials.
Requests for trial entries will be sent to breeding program leaders in early November of each year to ensure timely delivery of trial seed (see Objective 2). We will encourage all participating breeding programs to visit trial locations, and we will facilitate those visits by recommending optimal times for seeing mature broccoli at each location. Seasonal updates will summarize what locations have plantings in the ground, when evaluations are expected, and what field days, demonstrations, and other events are happening around trial sites. Participating programs will receive preliminary and final reports summarizing trial results (see Objective 2). We will web conference annually with seed company participants to review results for their own entries and top public hybrids. Public breeding program leaders and their technology licensing offices will handle inquiries from seed companies concerning the potential licensing and commercialization of public hybrids.
Objective 2. Evaluate quality and yield potential of new hybrids at experimental and commercial scales at multiple locations in the Eastern US.
Multi-regional Quality Trials.Broccoli hybrids from public and private seed-company breeding programs will be evaluated in locations representative of the variation seen across the East Coast. Participating breeding programs will pay a fee per entry to cover the cost of conducting the trials. The entry fee is intended to make the multistate trial system sustainable and self-sufficient.
The protocol developed by EBP personnel for Quality trial evaluations (Farnham et al. 2014, 2011c) includes specific broccoli traits that were identified by public broccoli breeders as being important contributors to quality. The evaluated traits are: plant stand uniformity, i.e., the relative homogeneity of appearance and maturity of all plants in a plot; head extension, the relative position of broccoli head apex relative to topmost foliage at market maturity (relates to ease of harvest and potential for mechanical harvest); holding ability, the degree to which crowns retain shape when size surpasses 15 cm (better holding ability gives growers more leeway in harvest); dome, the shape of the crown (rounded domes shed water and are preferred; flat or concave heads allow water to collect, which can lead to crown disorders such as brown bead); bead size, average size of the unopened flower buds that cover the surface of the broccoli crown (some markets prefer smaller beaded varieties); bead uniformity, a critical trait that indicates the degree to which beads (flower buds) on mature heads are similar in size; head firmness, crowns should offer some resistance when pressed which relates to ability to hold up to handling; head color, green to deep blue green is preferred; pale, gray, or purplish crowns are often rejected; head uniformity and smoothness, regularity of crown surface (e.g. small lumps are tolerable, large distortions may not be marketable; overall quality, asubjective rating on the overall look of broccoli crowns; days to maturity, number of days from transplant until crowns are ready for harvest (this information is used to choose planting dates for a targeted harvest date; and stem diameter, which correlates with crown weight. Mean Responseof each hybrid is a calculated index that is the average of all scores except days to maturity and stem diameter.
Yearly evaluations will be done with three test plantings (3 replications per test) at each of five eastern sites (see Chart 1 at https://blogs.cornell.edu/easternbroccoliproject/files/2018/08/Broccoli-Evaluation-flowchart-12wrk4q.jpg and Figure 1 at https://blogs.cornell.edu/easternbroccoliproject/files/2018/08/Eastern-Brocc-Trial-Map-16vjq63.jpg). A minimum of two commercial standard broccoli cultivars will be included in the trials each year to provide a consistent reference for the growing conditions. All public, private, and commercial standard entries will be included at all plantings at all locations. The 15 environments per season will allow identification of material with stable performance under varied stress, as well as the potential planting season for which each is best suited. Ongoing efforts in breeding programs will result in new hybrid entries each year. We anticipate 20 to 40 entries per year from all sources.
Data will be analyzed by location and over all locations. For each trait evaluated, analysis of variance and Duncan’s multiple range test (or similar non-parametric test, if necessary) will be employed to determine differences among entries. Preliminary and final Quality trial reports that summarize trial results will be issued to participating breeding programs in December (covering spring and summer trials) and June (covering spring, summer, fall and winter trials), respectively. Reports will include tables that report mean scores and significance ranges of each trait for each entry. A similar table will summarize trait rankings for each hybrid. Graphs of mean scores of each hybrid will be included for three key traits: overall quality, bead uniformity, and mean response. Hybrids will be identified as showing broad adaptation to Eastern growing regions if they earn high scores that beat commercial standards in multiple locations.
Quality trial data will also be analyzed for the relative contribution of Environment, Genotype and GxE for each trait, as well as stability analysis (individual environment means relative to control’s means) for each entry and trait. Results will be shared with participating breeding programs. The best-adapted hybrids identified by Quality trial performance will be considered candidates for Yield trials (described below) and possible commercial release.
Multi-regional Yield Trials.The production potential of candidate hybrids from public and private breeding programs will be determined in on-farm Yield trials that will be conducted in 11 commercial production settings typical of the region (see Figure 1 at https://blogs.cornell.edu/easternbroccoliproject/files/2018/08/Eastern-Brocc-Trial-Map-16vjq63.jpg). Seed companies interested in exploring new slots for already commercialized hybrids may also make use of the Yield trial system. Participating breeding programs will be charged a fee per entry per location to cover the cost of the service.
Measured traits will be yield, marketable yield, cause of non-marketability, and field holding. Hybrids will be tested at sites and in seasons that best match the potential market slot. A leading commercial broccoli cultivar will be included in Yield trials at all locations to serve as a check against which the performance of new hybrids can be measured. Each location will plant four to five replicate plots of each entry in a randomized block design. As plants approach maturity, trial personnel will visit them every two to three days to harvest, count, and weigh the mature marketable and non-marketable crowns in each plot. Reasons for non-marketability will be noted. Plants outside of the replicate plots will be tagged and monitored for field holding. Data will be analyzed, and results will be shared with participating breeding programs
A preliminary Yield trial report on results of spring and summer trials will be issued to participating breeding programs in December; a final report that includes data from fall and winter trials will be issued the following June, following return and analysis of data from those locations. Yield trial reports will contain data (means and standard deviations) of total yield (productivity), marketable yield, holding ability, maturation rate, and main defects.
Objective 3. Provide timely and relevant information to stakeholders through various means including, webinars, field days, and a project website for use by researchers, extension, growers, and allied industry members.
Project cooperators will present the information generated in this project to stakeholders through oral presentations, printed media, and websites to inform them of promising selections and new cultivar releases identified for each region. Growers will be made aware of the opportunity to produce profitable, quality broccoli through publicity in trade publications, newsletters and grower-conference presentations. We will provide growers with more information at field days, through individual consultation, at grower-coop meetings and in other places where in-depth discussion of options is possible. Yield Trials will be conducted on commercial farms and will also host annual field days to expose nearby growers to the desirability of the new cultivars, as well as to the commercial success of the host grower’s broccoli enterprise. Statewide vegetable-production guides will be updated annually with current information. The Eastern broccoli website (easternbroccoli.org) will continue to offer production and postharvest guidance for growers. It will be continually updated based on production and cultivar research and expanded to include new topics, such as cooling technology. The collaborative nature of this effort will allow us to identify underutilized production slots (times of the year when regional demand is not met by regional supply) and share this information with growers who could potentially profit by moving or adding production to that season.
Measurement of Progress and Results
- New broccoli hybrids with superior perfomance Comments: Based on market size, we anticipate release and marketing of a new, eastern-adapted broccoli variety every year or two. Preliminary and final trial reports will be released for both Quality and Yield trials each year. Extension leaders will make updates to regional broccoli production recommendations based on these results. Analysis of Quality trial data for Genotype and Environment effects on various traits is expected to result in one or more journal publications.
Outcomes or Projected Impacts
- New hybrids developed by the project will be on the market In the short term, the trial system and evaluation service will be valuable to seed companies, who will use it to test new hybrids and also to demonstrate the performance of good candidates for commercialization. The trial system will also enable public breeders using funds from short-term grants, grower support, or modest USDA capacity programs (e.g. Hatch) to produce finished hybrids. Data from Quality trials can be used by to support PVP (plant variety protection) applications to secure intellectual property rights for new hybrids. Breeding progress will be measured in the performance of new hybrids relative to check cultivars in the Quality Trials. The value of the trials will be determined by the number of entries that breeders anticipate entering in both Quality and Yield trials. Yield trial results will inform cultivar recommendations and support sales people advocating newly released cultivars. Mid-term outcomes will include the licensing by seed companies of improved public broccoli inbreds that have high value as parental lines, as well as eastern-adapted public hybrids that are superior to those released early during the Eastern Broccoli Project. The new inbreds will improve private breeder’s ability to develop even better adapted hybrids in the future. Seed companies will commercially release and market to eastern growers both the public hybrids and their own privately developed new, adapted hybrids. The success of the Yield trial system will be measured by the number of Yield trial entries that are ultimately commercialized. New cultivars will be identified by presence in catalogs of primary seed distributors. Other researchers working on broccoli will become aware of the trial and evaluation service and be able to make use of it. (For example, the trial design would allow research into the influence of growing region and season on broccoli flavor or nutritional content.) Over the long term, eastern growers will have access to new broccoli cultivars that allow them to harvest broccoli in warmer seasons and to substantially increase production acreage to keep pace with the expected increase in demand from eastern consumers. Their demand for adapted seed will make the development and marketing of that seed a sustainable enterprise for seed companies. Buyers will have access to a fresh, plentiful, high quality supply of the regionally produced broccoli their consumers demand.
Milestones(2019):Breeding programs submit new hybrids for Quality trial testing. Yield trial invitations made based on 2018-19 and previous Quality trials. Regional site leaders begin 2019-20 Quality and Yield trial cycle.
(2020):Breeders receive half-year results of 2019-20 Quality Trial. Breeding programs submit new hybrids for Quality trial testing. Regional site leaders finish 2019-20 Quality and Yield trial cycle. Final reports for 2019-20 are sent to breeders. Regional site leaders begin 2020-21 Quality and Yield trial cycle. Breeding programs increase seed of candidate cultivars. Identify hybrids for commercial release based on Yield trial results.
(2021):Breeders receive half-year results of 2020-21 Quality Trial. Breeding programs submit new hybrids for Quality trial testing. Regional site leaders finish 2020-21 Quality and Yield trial cycle. Final reports for 2020-21 are sent to breeders. Regional site leaders begin 2021-22 Quality and Yield trial cycle. Breeding programs increase seed of candidate cultivars. Identify hybrids for commercial release based on Yield trial results.
(2022):Breeders receive half-year results of 2021-22 Quality Trial. Breeding programs submit new hybrids for Quality trial testing. Regional site leaders finish 2021-22 Quality and Yield trial cycle. Final reports for 2021-22 are sent to breeders. Regional site leaders begin 2022-23 Quality and Yield trial cycle. Breeding programs increase seed of candidate cultivars. Identify hybrids for commercial release based on Yield trial results.
(2023):Breeders receive half-year results of 2022-23 Quality Trial. Breeding programs submit new hybrids for Quality trial testing. Regional site leaders finish 2022-23 Quality and Yield trial cycle. Final reports for 2022-23 are sent to breeders. Regional site leaders begin 2023-24 Quality and Yield trial cycle. Breeding programs increase seed of candidate cultivars. Identify hybrids for commercial release based on Yield trial results.
(0):October/November: Solicit new entries for Quality and Yield trials from public and seed company breeding programs. Late fall/early winter: annual trial leader and multistate administrative meeting, to be held in conjunction with a regional grower or professional conference. December: preliminary Quality and Yield trial reports issued that summarizing results of spring and summer trials. December–January: individual web conferences with commercial and public breeding programs. January: trial seed due at Cornell for redistribution to trial locations. January through November: Yield trial seed shipped to trial sites one month prior to sowing at each site. January through April of the following year: Yield trials conducted (from transplant through harvest and evaluation) from: February through April in Tifton GA; mid-May through July in Mills River, NC; mid-June through August in Old Fort, NC; mid-June through August in Albion, NY; late June through August in Laurel Fork, VA; late June through early September in Aroostook County, ME; July through September in Kennebec County, ME; late August through November in Saluda County, SC; December (direct seeded) through early April in Hastings, FL; January through March in Immokalee, FL. February: Quality trial seed shipped to Quality trial sites. March: web-conference with trial leaders. March through February of the following year: Three Quality plantings conducted and evaluated at each of five Quality trial locations: mid-March–early May, late March–late May, and September–November in Charleston, SC; mid-May–July, mid-June–late August, and July–September in Waynesville, NC; early June–early August, late June–late August, and July–September in Geneva, NY; mid-June–mid-August, late-June–early September, and July–September in Monmouth, ME; and October–December, December-February, and February–April in Hastings, NY June through May of the following year: Within one month of trial completion, Quality and Yield trial leaders return data to Cornell for analysis and report development June: Final Quality and Yield trial reports (covering spring, summer, fall and winter trials) issued for 15-month trial “year” that just concluded.
Projected ParticipationView Appendix E: Participation
Objective 3 (above) summarizes much of the outreach that will be conducted for NE_TEMP1839. Additionally, trial leaders will meet yearly for the duration of the project to ensure consistency in evaluation standards across sites and to discuss trial results and evaluate outreach programs. We will extend yearly invitations to seed companies and public broccoli programs to encourage them to enter material in the trial system, share trial results in yearly reports, and conduct web conferences with them to interpret results and discuss directions for further improvement in breeding based on feedback from growers, wholesale and retail buyers, and other extension personnel working with vegetable growers. The project supports seed company marketing efforts by providing objective performance data to seed distributors and prospective growers. Field days at trial sites are most effective for showing prospective growers new hybrids and production methods. Grower meetings and social media will call attention to available and suitable new cultivars and upcoming field days and related events. Wholesale and retail buyers will learn that local broccoli is becoming more available through articles in their trade publications. Seed companies will learn about the performance of public hybrids that may have commercial promise through site visits, trial reports, and discussions with public breeders.
Raw data will be submitted into appropriate public databases to inform other scientists working with broccoli of commercialization and breeding decisions. Other Extension personnel advising vegetable growers will be made aware of new varieties at vegetable conferences and through individual discussions.
Extension activities related to this project will be evaluated by the Extension personnel of each location and will include surveys, evaluation of behavior change and adoption of new practices/cultivars, attendance of Extension events among others.
The regional technical committee is composed of all participating cooperators (see Appendix E), an administrative advisor (Dr. Jan P. Nyrop). The technical committee meets at least once each year to discuss progress of the research, review procedures, coordinate research and plan future research activities. Proposals for adding additional eastern locations, if any, will be discussed and decided at these meetings. Voting privileges are restricted to one member from each participating unit.
The regional technical committee will elect an executive committee composed of a chair, vice-chair, and secretary. A succession of officers will be maintained so that the vice-chair becomes chair, the secretary becomes vice-chair, and a new secretary is elected each year. The responsibilities of the executive committee members are as outlined in the Guidelines for Multistate Research Activities. The chair will preside at all meetings of the technical committee and is responsible for organizing the agenda of the annual meeting. The vice-chair will prepare the annual report for the project. The secretary will prepare the minutes of the annual meeting and any special meetings. The administrative advisor is responsible for distributing the minutes and submitting the annual report and minutes to the NIFA representative and other interested parties. Participation by Industry representatives is at the invitation of the Technical Committee with the approval of the Administrative Advisor.
This is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, multi-state and trans-disciplinary effort.
Plant breeders, extension personnel, and a plant physiologist at 10 public institutions in 8 states will work with colleagues in industry, emerging food hubs, and state Departments of Agriculture to achieve year-round Eastern broccoli production. Production support will be extended to growers in unrepresented eastern states.
Thomas Björkman (Cornell University). He will conduct outreach and production support activities, assist with the NY Yield trial, and manage the Eastern Broccoli website and production guide.
Mark Farnham (USDA Vegetable Lab), will enter public hybrids from his program in both Quality and Yield trials.
Phillip Griffiths (Cornell University) will enter public hybrids from his program in both Quality and Yield trials.
James Myers (Oregon State University) will enter hybrids in Quality trials.
Mark Hutton (University of Maine) is leader for Quality and Yield trials in Maine.
Jeanine Davis (North Carolina State University) will conduct Quality trials in western North Carolina.
Brian Ward (Clemson University) is leader for Yield and Quality trials in South Carolina.
Lincoln Zotarelli (University of Florida) is leader for Quality and Yield trials in northern Florida.
Andre Silva and Timothy Coolong (University of Georgia) are leaders for Yield trials in Georgia.
Christy Hoepting (Cornell University) is leader for Yield trials in western New York.
Kelly Morgan and Gene McAvoy (University of Florida) are leaders for Yield trials in Immokalee, Florida.
Ashley Edwards (Virginia Cooperative Extension) conducts Yield trials in Virginia.
Carl Sams (University of Tennessee) will, upon request, conduct chemical analyses of nutrient and flavor components of fresh broccoli.
Steven Sargent will, upon request, conduct postharvest evaluations of broccoli.
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