When we started working with blueberries in the early 1990s there was under 4,000 acres of blueberries in Georgia now they're close to 20,000 and the industry has grown to over $150 million in value. This map shows where the blueberry farms are located in the southeast corner of the state where the soil is rich and very acidic. The blueberry breeding program got its first start in the 1930s. And in 1945, Dr. Brightwell started his program and many of you might have heard of the Brightwell Blueberry which is still used today. We have research farms in Alapaha and Griffin. The next set of slides show a little about our breeding program. It starts with the cross- pollination of flowers in the greenhouse. We collect the fruit as it ripens and store it in a refrigerator until all the fruit has been harvested. We then put the fruit in a blender to extract the seed. The seed are then cleaned and stored in the cooler until they're ready to plant. The seed are planted and put into a growth chamber to germinate. Once the plants have germinated and reach a size big enough to plant, they're put into cell trays and put into the greenhouse to grow large enough to plant in bark beds. There they will be evaluated and the best plants will be selected and planted in the field on various farms for further evaluation. The process from cross to new variety release can take close to 12 years. The breeding program is based on commercial needs such as increased fruit size, early ripening varieties,short ripening periods, late flowering times and increased fruit firmness. Consumers use Georgia blueberries in many new products and to start new businesses. Over the past years, we have branched out to include ornamental blueberry plants in all different shapes and colors of plants and berries.The program takes a lot of support staff, facilities and equipment to make it successful. We have support from growers with on-farm trials. And no that's not a south Georgia kangaroo. Visitors come from around the world to view the blueberries developed here. The blue dots on this map show the locations where the blueberries developed at UGA have ended up. This is a list a blueberry plants released here and is growing as we speak. As you can see, the UGA blueberry breeding program has come a long way since the 1930s and has made a big impact in Georgia and around the world.Thank you.
© 2015 University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Horticulture
The video opens to a slide of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences logo then moves to a title slide.
The video moves to a graph showing the growth of blueberry acreage then continues to a table showing the farm-gate value to a map of the State of Georgia showing the location of commercial blueberry farms.
The video continues to a photo of Dr. W. Thomas Brightwell then changes to a map of Georgia showing the locations of blueberry research farms.
The video changes to a photo collage of the stages of blueberry growth then moves to a close-up of blueberry flowers then to ripe blueberries on a paper bag.
The video moves to a belnder with blended blueberries inside then continues to blueberry seeds on a paper pate then to blueberry seeds in a cooler.
The video continues to newly sprouted blueberry plants then changes to show the plants in a greenhouse then to blueberry seedlings in a greenhouse.
The video changes to blueberry seedlings planted in a bark bed then moves to bluberry bushes in a bark bed.
The video moves to a bar graph showing a blueberry cultivar development timeline then continues to a photo collage of large blueberries then to two graphs showing early ripening blueberry varieties.
The video continues to a photo collage of short ripening and later flowering blueberries then changes to a photo collage of harvested blueberries then to a photo collage of blueberry products.
The video changes to an ornamental blueberry bush then moves to a row of ornamental blueberry bushes then to a bunch of blueberries in different stages of ripeness.
The video moves to a close up of ripe blueberries on the bush then continues to a photo collage of research farm facilities and people then to a man field tasting blueberries.
The video continues to a photo collage of on-farm trial gardens then changes to a photo of a kangaroo in a field of blueberry bushes then to a photo collage of visitors from around the world.
The video changes to a world map with blue dots then moves to a table of recent UGA blueberry varieties to a summary slide.
The video ends with a slide of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences logo.
© 2015 University of Georgia
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Department of Horticulture