Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Creating Widely Adapted, High-Yielding Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts have great potential as a sustainable crop across much of the U.S. if two barriers can be overcome—susceptibility to a fungal disease that kills European hazelnuts and the ability to thrive in harsh weather conditions. If these obstacles can be removed, hazelnuts are a promising crop to be used for food, animal feed, and even biofuel. 

We formed the Hybrid Hazelnut Consortium three years ago to develop disease-resistant, climatically adapted hazelnuts. Comprised of researchers from Oregon State University, Rutgers University, Arbor Day Foundation and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the Consortium is funded by a $1.3 million grant through the USDA’s Cooperative Research Education & Extension Service. Working together allows us to leverage the intellectual resources and prior research investments of each institution. Together, we have more then 70 years of hazelnut breeding and research.

Our goal is to create hazelnuts that combine the eastern filbert blight resistance of native American hazelnuts with the high nut quality and commercial viability of European varieties. Check back often as we explore hazelnuts' potential in many different applications and chart our progress toward making them a viable crop option for farmers; visit our website at
These hybrid hazelnuts are wintering in a greenhouse at Rutgers.