|Dr. Shawn Mehlenbacher (left) walked members of the Hybrid |
Hazelnut Consortium through OSU hazelnut fields.
When members of the Hybrid Hazelnut Consortium met in Corvallis, Ore., for the annual meeting, we were able to see first-hand the work being done by Oregon State University researchers and Oregon hazelnut growers.
Oregon State began hazelnut research in 1969, shortly after eastern filbert blight (EFB), a disease that kills European hazelnut plants, was discovered in Oregon. Dr. Shawn Mehlenbacher, professor of horticulture, works on developing EFB-resistant hazelnuts, microsatellite marker development and DNA markers for EFB resistance. His work also includes importing and evaluating hazelnut germplasm from around the world to increase the world's largest hazelnut germplasm collection.
Oregon State plants about 4,000 seedlings annually on 65 acres at OSU's Smith Field Farm. After years of intense screening, the 4,000 plants are whittled down to 25-30 possibilities for the breeding program. The best trees are layered, banded and sent to the nursery for a year, then placed in a field trial. Nut data is taken in years 3-7.
For more information about Oregon State's hazelnut program, visit hort.oregonstate.edu/faculty-staff/mehlenbacher
|Tours of Oregon hazelnut industry sites included visits to |
hazelnut propagators, processors, and retailers (below).