Dr. Vance M. Whitaker
Extension: Strawberry Breeding Program
The University of Florida has conducted a continuous breeding and selection program for strawberries since 1968. Since then, 12 strawberry cultivars have been released.
In 1988, approximately 5,000 acres of strawberries were grown in Hillsborough County, and the vast majority of those acres were occupied by varieties from California.
In 2012, more than 11,000 acres were planted in Florida—approximately 85% of which were planted from UF/IFAS varieties.
The strawberry industry benefits when new cultivars are adopted by growers and managed to their full potential. Information on attributes of new cultivars and tailored management programs for each new release are developed in collaboration with Dr. Natalia Peres, a plant pathologist.
This information is communicated to growers and industry practitioners through EDIS publications, field days, extension agent trainings, and trials of advanced selections on growers’ fields.