An innovative blueberry breeding project and how to control weeds without using chemicals are among the topics up for discussion at Fruit for the Future next week.
The leading soft fruit industry event – organised by the James Hutton Institute (JHI) and the Scottish Society for Crop Research (SSCR) – will take place on Thursday July 21 at the JHI’s Dundee site at Invergowrie.
The free event will give fruit growers an insight into the JHI’s fruit breeding programmes, as well as a range of other industry projects.
Dr Susan McCallum, a blueberry researcher at JHI, is among the speakers lined up for the event.
She will discuss the BreedingValue project, which aims to address some of the global challenges currently facing blueberry breeding programmes.
“Consumer’s tastes are changing and production costs are increasing so growers need varieties that are productive, have low picking and management costs, good pest and disease tolerance and require reduced inputs,” said Dr McCallum, speaking ahead of the event.
“The BreedingValue project aims to develop a greater understanding of plant performance and how these are influenced by genetics and environment which can not only help develop the type of berries consumers want but also promote a more sustainable industry by reducing pesticide use, target water use efficiency and also waste reduction.”
Visitors to the event will also be given a tour of the JHI’s raspberry demonstration tunnel, as well as an update on the redcurrant and mixed ribes breeding programme, which aims to produce berries with improved visual appearance, higher yields and sweeter and more retail-friendly flavours.
Growers are also being encouraged to bring a 200g sample of fruit for JHI staff to test for the presence of Spotted Wing Drosophila, with results sent to delegates after the event.
The JHI’s Andrew Christie will provide an overview of the institute’s non-chemical weed control work.
SSCR honorary secretary, Dr Joanne Russell, encouraged growers to attend the event and said: “We are proud to support Fruit for the Future as the event provides an exceptional platform to ensure that soft fruit researchers and industry are fully aligned.”
The event is free to attend however delegates are asked to pre-register their attendance online at bit.ly/HuttonFFF22.