Friday, February 04, 2011

Prune breeders get on the FasTrack


[ Photo caption: Horticulturist Ralph Scorza (right) and technician Mark Demuth inspect ripe HoneySweet plums. Scorza discussed the plums today during a workshop in Red Bluff, Calif. ]

Researchers discussed the latest in pest-fighting and other technologies during a University of California Cooperative Extension workshop on prune production today at the Elks Lodge in Red Bluff, Calif. About 70 local farmers attended the workshop.

Among the most newsworthy items:

-- Ralph Scorza, a USDA Agricultural Research Service horticulturist who flew in from West Virginia to attend the meeting, reported that scientists have developed a way to more quickly breed plum trees used for prunes, which are dried plums. The method, dubbed FasTrack, allows growers to get 12 years of plant development work done in about three years.

-- Rich Peterson of the California Dried Plum Board is optimistic about the future of prunes grown in the Golden State despite declines in bearing acreage and in prices paid to farmers. He outlined the board's efforts to market the fruit worldwide.

For more details about these issues, check soon.

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