RosBREEDers set clicker survey sessions
Sessions will be held across the United States.
Members of the RosBREED plant breeding team will be conducting clicker surveys at 14 winter horticulture meetings between December and next spring.
Growers will be asked basic questions about what traits they need in new cultivars of apples, peaches, sweet and tart cherries, and strawberries, all members of the Rosaceae genera of plants.
“RosBREED’s Socio-Economics Team is determined to begin answering these questions and provide breeding programs a more specific set of priorities to make their programs more efficient and effective,” according to Dr. Jim McFerson, writing in the November RosBREED newsletter.
“Selecting the right cultivar when establishing or renovating a planting is the single most important decision any grower will make,” he wrote.
Clicker surveys are like game shows in which audience participants respond to survey questions shown on a screen by hitting buttons on remote control clickers while they sit in their seats. Within seconds, the results are summarized and flashed on the screen.
Two sessions, one on sweet cherries and one on apples, will be held December 6 during the Washington State Horticulture Association annual meeting in Wenatchee.
Three sessions will be held during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market Expo in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Strawberries and apples will be the subjects on December 6 and tart cherries on December 7.
On December 13 in Watsonville, California, strawberry information will be gathered during the fumigation safety symposium at the California Strawberry Commission.
Peach trait information will be gathered January 6 during the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Savannah, Georgia.
Growers will click about apples January 10-11 at the Southeast Apple Growers Meeting in Asheville, North Carolina. The apple survey will be done on January 11 at the Minnesota Apple Growers meeting in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and again on January 24-26 at the Empire State Fruit and Vegetable Expo in Syracuse, New York.
Peaches will again be the subject at the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable meeting February 2 in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and then again sometime in mid-February at the California Stone Fruit meeting, site and date to be determined.
Strawberries round out the meetings. On February 28, growers will click at the annual grower meeting at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora, Oregon, and August 17-18 at the Florida Strawberry Growers Association annual educational seminar in Plant City, Florida.
RosBREED is a nationwide program, backed by some $7.2 million from the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, doubled by matching funds. It specifically aims at identifying genes in Rosaceous plants, marking their locations so breeders can use DNA testing to greatly speed up the breeding process.
The clicker surveys are designed to find what growers say they want in new cultivars, not just breeders’ viewpoints. Surveys have already been done to discover what breeders think are important traits.
In addition, mail surveys will start in January to complement the clicker sessions.