The University of California, Davis, Public Strawberry Breeding Program has released five new varieties that will help farmers manage diseases, control costs and produce plenty of large, robust berries using less water, fertilizer and pesticides. Two of the new varieties could increase yields by almost 30 percent.
“These new varieties are intrinsically different from the ones they replace,” said Steve Knapp, professor and director of the UC Davis Strawberry Breeding Program. “After more than three years of field tests, we’re seeing higher yields, greater disease resistance and better quality after harvest.”
The new pedigrees should benefit consumers, as well. “The price and quality of strawberries improve when farmers have access to varieties that help them grow better berries more cost efficiently,” said Dave Murray, a farmer and partner in Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce.
According to an article on ucdavis.edu, each of the new varieties will have its own farming niche — thriving better in certain environments under specific growing conditions. Three of the new varieties -Moxie, Royal Royce and Valiant- will perform well throughout the long, warm days of summer. Two varieties -Victor and Warrior- are bred for cooler climates from Santa Maria south along California’s coast.