Michigan Peach Sponsors

A non-profit organization for research and promotion of peaches

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Michigan Peach/Nectarine Research & Extension Needs and Priorities
2012 - 2013

Top five priorities

1. Ongoing, aggressive breeding and new variety evaluation program for new peach varieties. The long-range health of the Michigan peach industry depends on a steady flow of promising new varieties from breeding programs geared toward the Michigan climate. 

2.  Evaluation of new insect management products and strategies, including pheromone disruption, application technology. Insects of particular concern are: western flower thrips, San Jose scale, peach borer, oriental fruit moth, tarnished plant bug, marmorated stink bug, and 2-spotted drosophila fruit fly.

3. Develop better bacterial spot management strategies for peaches, nectarines, and apricots.

4. Improve crop thinning, harvest timing and handling criteria for peaches. The development of useful chemical and mechanical thinners for peaches would be a great boon to the Michigan industry. Research is needed on peach orchard systems and tree structure amenable to mechanical blossom thinning.  

5. Improved marketing strategies for wholesale and direct sells including promotional strategies such as "Select Michigan"
Also important--not listed in order of priority

*Identify, regulate, and reduce virus, phytoplasma, and viroid problems in Michigan stone fruit farms.  Expertise and funding are needed in Michigan to aid research, regulatory, and extension programs for protecting stone fruit against plum pox virus, X-disease phytoplasma, prune dwarf virus, necrotic ring spot virus, and peach latent mosaic viroid.  Strategies are needed to keep breeding material and budwood orchards free of contamination, and a systematic program is needed to reduce endemic virus problems in peach commercial orchards.

*Find improved rootstock for peaches. Numerous new rootstock need to be tested with Michigan varieties under Michigan conditions. Test trials are needed in several locations with the new rootstock. 

*Expand small plot and semi-commercial evaluation plots.   Many new peach varieties are appearing in recent years from private and public breeding programs.  Michigan growers need objective evaluations of the new varieties to guide important orchard planning decisions.   Evaluations of fruit should be made of new variety productivity, fruit size, quality, disease and insect resistance on both small plot and semi-commercial scale at several locations in Michigan.
*Determine processing characteristics for both melting and non-melting peach varieties. New non-melting and melting flesh peach varieties recently introduced into Michigan need to be evaluated for their suitability for the processing peach market.   In California, melting type peach varieties are a large part of the processing slice market...currently, essentially no melting flesh peaches have been evaluated for their suitability.

*Develop new peach canker management strategies.   Examine chemical and cultural strategies for their effectiveness in managing peach canker disease.