Sneak Peek: September 2020 VSCNews Magazine

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The September issue of VSCNews magazine is packed with information about breeding updates and new varieties. Readers can see what’s new in strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cucurbits.

Breeding new varieties is a vital component to push agriculture forward. The University of Florida (UF) is a leader in the breeding industry. Recently, blackberries have emerged as an alternative crop in Florida. Zhanao Deng, a professor at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) shares the work that UF has done trialing and developing cultivars for the Sunshine State. According to Deng, UF plans to produce the first blackberry production and spray guide by early 2022.

Seonghee Lee, a research assistant professor and Vance Whitaker, an associate professor, both at the UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Wimauma, discuss a new strawberry variety that UF will soon commercialize. These white strawberries, actually found in nature, are expected to be the first white strawberries on the market in the U.S.

Patricio Munoz, an assistant professor and Doug Phillips, UF/IFAS blueberry Extension coordinator, discusses the UF/IFAS blueberry breeding program. Get the latest details on the program in his article.

The September issue also offers something for cucurbit growers. Cucurbit crops are some of the most widely grown vegetable crops in the Southeast. However, the hot and humid climate can present a number of challenges to growers when it comes to pests and diseases. Cecilia McGregor, an associate professor and George Boyhan, a professor and Extension specialist, both at the University of Georgia (UGA), share the work being done by the UGA cucurbit breeding programs, developing cultivars that are well adapted to the Southeast.

Finally, the September issue includes a wrap-up of the recent virtual Vegetable & Specialty Crop (VSC) Expo. Readers can get some of the highlights from the Expo educational program inside the September issue. Also, be sure to mark your calendars for the 2021 VSC Expo, returning Aug. 18-19, 2021, to the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers, Florida.

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