OBJECTIVES AND METHODS OF THE STRAWBERRY BREEDING PROGRAM SPONSORED BY THE CIREF
Much of the production has been under small plastic tunnels but there is now much more use of high tunnels to ensure a high quality, early spring crop and also a day neutral crop. The former accounts for 80% of the production and the latter 20% French propagation nurseries produce 150 million certified plants each year. The major cultivars are ‘Gariguette’, which is early ripening, ‘Addie’, ‘Pajaro’ and ‘Chandler’, which are all mid-season ripening, ‘Elsanta’, which is late ripening, and ‘Selva’, which is day-neutral and thus ripens over an extended time.
Each of these cultivars has one or more serious weaknesses and thus a breeding program was initiated in 1988 to overcome some of these. The program is sponsored by Centre Interregional de Recherche et Experimentation Fraise (CIREF) in cooperation with INRA (Institut National de Recherche Agronomique) at Avignon with G. Risser and at Bordeaux with B. Denoyes. The E.E.C. supplies 60% of the financial support and the French strawberry industry 40%.