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California cherry growers turn to breeders to combat climate woes

In recent years, Kern County cherry growers were frustrated by warmer winters and hotter springs. Luckily, breeders -including locally based IFG- are working on new cherry varieties that ideally require fewer "chill hours" during the course of a winter. The intent is also to spin off trees with fruits that ripen on an earlier schedule, as well as breeds that are less susceptible to stress damage from soaring temperatures in May and early June.

Cherries represent an especially urgent case, because although other specialty crops grown in Kern County face similar challenges from changing climate patterns, there is some concern cherries' relatively high temperature sensitivity could force their production out of a county that, in good years, can offer a temporary price advantage to local growers.


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