21-Jul-09 08:10 | Eric Stafne

One of the most important things I do is to test genotype by environment interactions.  What does that mean?  To put it simply — variety trials.  Which varieties perform in our environment the best?  The problem with variety trials is that they are long term, expensive, and labor intensive.  Plus, in the scientific community, they are looked at with indifference, as if to say the data is not worthy of publication.  Of course I disagree.  If it isn’t published then how does one know how certain varieties perform in different regions?

The vineyard at the Perkins experiment station is nine years old now.  I hope this will be the last year I need to gather data on it.  It takes a tremendous effort to keep it in shape.  That’s not to say I will get rid of it.  I have other plans for parts of it.  Some of it will be torn out so that I can replace it with other varieties and other genotypes.  But what I need to work on is a way to speed up the process some.  What is it that is the main problem we have in Oklahoma?  In my opinion it is climate.  Early fall freezes, late spring frosts/freezes, excessive cold in the winter and excessive heat in the summer.  All that along with times of drought and times of flood.  The climate also leads to increased disease and insect problems.  I was told recently that the first Japanese beetle has been trapped in Stillwater.  Great.  Just what we need.

At any rate, there are relatively inexpensive techniques out there that can be used to screen varieties for various traits, such as bud cold hardiness, drought tolerance, heat tolerance, etc.  I must find ways to accomplish this important work.  My goal is to utilize technology that is inexpensive enough to be useful to a grower and that can be implemented by them with just a little effort.  I have started this with my IR project.  I hope to move forward with bud cold hardiness as well in the near future.