From ‘Sun-Diamond Grower’, written by Jamie K. Hartshorn
HGA newsletter, January 2004
That’s about how many hazelnut seedlings Oregon plant breeders must go through before one is worthy of release.
It pays to be patient if you’re a plant breeder. Take scientists at Oregon State University’s Agricultural Experiment Station for instance. Their quest for a new hazelnut variety for the kernel market took some 17 years from initial trials to final release. Many thousands of seedlings later, along came ‘Willamette’, introduced in 1990. “The new variety has shown both positive and negative points,” says Dr. Shawn Mehlenbacher, associate professor and plant breeder with OSU’s Hazelnut Breeding Program. The largest planting to date is a 40 acre block that went in last Spring, “but most growers are taking a wait and see attitude,” he says.Continue reading One in 8000!