New Mexico Chile Association Competitive Grants Program

Advancing Chile Mechanization and Cultivar Improvement through Collaborative Breeding Research

Principal Investigator:
Dr. Stephanie J. Walker, New Mexico State Univ. Extension Vegetable Specialist

Project Summary:
Harvest mechanization is critical for the long-term viability of domestic chile production. This project continues long-term classical chile breeding to improve mechanization efficiency, yield, and quality of NM-type green chile, paprika and cayenne pepper. Specific goals include: (1) mechanical harvest and destemming trials at the NMSU Los Lunas ASC and further evaluation of exceptional breeding lines; (2) evaluation of Curry breeding lines with varied plant and fruit characteristics with different chile harvesters; (3) further refinement of high dry matter paprika breeding lines with increased extractable pigment; and (4) development of open-pollinated cayenne breeding lines efficient for mechanical harvest.