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Fall 2012 Newsletter

Consortium Identifies 3 Superior Hybrids

The Hybrid Hazelnut Consortium has identified three superior hazelnut hybrids with potential to become successful commercial cultivars. The three selections are heat and cold tolerant, resistant to eastern filbert blight and heavy yielders with good quality nuts. These are the first cultivars the Consortium has named for broader trials.

The Consortium expects more high-potential cultivars to be identified or developed over the next several years as a result of its intensive breeding efforts at Rutgers and Oregon State and field trials in Nebraska.

Together, these hybrids will form the foundation for further testing across diverse climates and are expected to become the core producers for an emerging hazelnut industry across the central and eastern U.S.

In its first three years of cooperative work, Rutgers, Oregon State, Arbor Day Foundation and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have made significant advances, including sequencing the EFB genome and developing a test for early detection of EFB, and through their work have informed and changed decision makers’ attitudes about the potential of hybrid hazelnuts.

Agroforestry Opportunity

Tremendous opportunity will exist for U.S. farmers when commercial-quality hazelnuts are developed. They require less water than annual crops, are drought resistant and can be grown on hilly, sloping or in marginal soils. Consortium research in Nebraska has shown that hazelnuts can be a high-yielding dry-land crop.

Hybrid hazelnut shrubs will have potential as a supplement crop for farmers. They will be suitable for integration into farming systems as orchards or income-producing windbreaks or snow fences. Used in riparian forest buffers, they will reduce erosion, store water and trap soil, chemicals and nutrients while producing additional income for landowners.

Hazelnuts also may provide revenue-generating capability for small, difficult-to-farm parcels of land, such as corners created by pivot irrigation systems or in areas where unusual topography is unsuited for cultivated crops.