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An evaluation of U.S. tart and sweet cherry producers’ trait prioritization: Evidence from audience surveys Published In HortScience, 49 (7):931-937, 2014, by C. Yue, R.K .Gallardo, J.J. Luby, A.L. Rihn, J.R. McFerson, V. McCracken, N. Oraguzie, C. Weebadde, A. Sebolt, A. Iezzoni

Developing new cherry cultivars requires breeders to be aware of existing and emerging needs throughout the supply chain, from producer to consumer. Because breeding programs in perennial crop plants like sweet and tart cherries require both extended time and extensive resources, understanding and targeting priority traits is critical to improve the efficiency of breeding programs. This study investigated the relative importance of fruit and tree traits to sweet and tart cherry producers using ordered probit models. Tart cherry producers considered productivity and fruit firmness to be the most important traits, whereas sweet cherry producers regarded fruit size, fruit flavor, fruit firmness, freedom from pitting, and powdery mildew resistance as important traits. The location of producers’ orchards and their demographic backgrounds influenced their perceptions of the importance of traits. Our findings provide a quantitative basis to reinforce existing priorities of breeding programs or suggest new targets.

Washington State University