STRAWBERRY BREEDING IN RUSSIA
Until 1961, breeding was aimed mainly at productivity, regional adaptation, and fruit quality (taste, color intensity, pulp density, ascorbic acid content, pecun, and dry matter content).
In Russia, the first purposeful strawberry cross and selections for disease resistance were done at the Malkop and Krymsk experimental and breeding stations in 1961 (breeder G. Govorova). This was the beginning of our long-term breeding for immunity program that continues today.
There is no opportunity here to give detailed descriptions of all regional breeding programs that are carried out by more than 30 breeders of our country. Let me briefly deliver some main directions and achievements of strawberry breeding in commercial small fruit production regions of the former USSR, namely the Moscow and Leningrad, North Caucasus, Ukraine, and Middle Asia regions.
In our country, the commercial strawberry crop yield is generally 10.0–12.0 t/ha, and advanced farms produce 14.0–16.0 t/ha. However, the actual yield realization is only 25%–33% of the potential yields. The reason for this lies in the intrinsicly low productivity of many old varieties, poor quality of cultivation practices and other circumstances.
The main task of breeding is to incorporate many economically valuable properties into one phenotype. A commercial variety must be high-yielding, resistant to extreme environmental conditions, diseases and pests, suitable for mechanical harvesting, adaptable to different cultivation technologies, and processing.
To achieve such quality the variety must have a moderate leal canopy, upright bush habit and long, strong fruit trusses with compact inflorescences. Fruit must