New UF/IFAS Blueberry Cultivar: Albus

Jim Rogers Berries, Research

By Clint Thompson

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) blueberry breeder Patricio Munoz is ready to release UF/IFAS’ newest cultivar this fall, Albus.

Albus
Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS

Munoz described what growers can expect from Albus.

Patricio Munoz

“This is a high yielding, good flavored cultivar that’s going to be targeting the central part of the state where we have a lot of area. We have been tracking this cultivar for six years now. We are building data to be confident to say this is something that’s going to be beneficial for growers in that area,” he said. “It has very good yield from many different places, so we have data ready; very good fruit quality.”

It is UF/IFAS’ first cultivar release since Sentinel. While Albus offers multiple advantages to growers in the central region of the state, its most compelling benefit is its yield production. Munoz estimated that the current average yield for blueberries in Florida is 4,000 pounds per acre. The low end of production of Albus in UF/IFAS research across seven locations yielded 8,000 pounds per acre. Its highest was 19,000 pounds.

“There’s two ways to get more profit. You either get more yield per unit of area or you decrease your costs. Regarding profit, always more yield is going to be more profitable for producers,” he added.

As labor becomes more challenging for growers, machine harvesters are more key to the long-term sustainability of farmers. Munoz looks to generate more research with regards to Albus’ ability to be machine harvested. That’s a long-term goal for the state’s blueberry industry.

“It’s not that growers are going to remove every single plant that they have and plant only this. The transition is going to take some time. We’re working toward that direction,” Munoz said.