Research report to Oregon Processed Vegetable Commission
James R. Myers and Brian Yorgey
OSU Dept of Hort.
Processors need broccoli with better quality traits than what is available in cultivars developed for California and Mexico fresh markets. Farmers need to reduce labor costs of broccoli production but mechanizing harvest. Most contemporary commercially available cultivars are not suitable for either mechanical harvest or processing. The objective of the OSU broccoli breeding program is to develop broccoli varieties adapted to western Oregon with suitable quality and high yields. The program operates on a one year cycle where cuttings from the field are taken into the greenhouse in the fall where they are rooted and hand crossed and self-pollinated to produce seed for the next generation. Seed is harvested in May and June and used to plant trials for fall evaluation. . In 2014, six experimental hybrids were planted in a replicated yield trial, which also included two commercial check hybrids and a new exserted commercial hybrid from Seminis. S446 x S458B had the highest net T/A head weight of the trial but this hybrid was also the latest in maturity. Fourteen advanced generation inbreds were selfed for seed production and an additional 15 early generation inbreds were advanced a generation. Two inbreds may have some level of drought tolerance compared to other inbreds. Fifteen CMS selections were backcrossed to various inbreds. Discussions were conducted with seed company representatives for commercializing the material in the OSU breeding program.