Malling™ Cherry Ventures Launches Next Phase of Development
UNITED KINGDOM - In July of 2020, a powerful alliance formed in the name of cherry category development. NIAB EMR, Berry Gardens Growers, and the Associated International Group of Nurseries (AIGN®) came together to form Malling™ Cherry Ventures, and recently announced the next stage in its strategy. The group will now begin to promote new cherry varieties developed in the United Kingdom. Six promising varieties were chosen by Cherry Breeding Program Leader Marzena Lipska to advance to the grafting and propagation phase.
“This decision was based on the performance of each variety over a number of years of trail at NIAB EMR,” said Lipska. “These selections met several breeding objectives and satisfied market needs from early to very late season with exceptional fruit quality.”
This next phase of the program involves off-site trials which help to determine how a genotype will perform under varying climates and conditions. The process will begin with small tree planting trails in Belgium and the U.K. using trees propagated at the NIAB EMR facility. According to a press release, René Nicolaï, a tree nursery and AIGN member located in Belgium, will receive scion wood from the breeding program where it will be grafted onto rootstocks in larger volumes.
Young trees created by the propagation process will be returned, in part, to Berry Gardens Growers for larger test plantings in England, with the balance distributed to appropriate interested parties in Europe. The selections are required to undergo screening at a High Health Center. Three of the selections will proceed immediately to clean plant centers in the United States and Australia, with the remainder expected to follow at a later date. Once the materials are submitted for testing and receive clean-plant status, they can be distributed into the AIGN member’s network for widespread global testing and evaluation.
“Progress of each selection will be managed using the proprietary database software owned by AIGN, known as Hertha™,” said Chief Executive Officer of Proprietary Variety Management and AIGN President Lynnell Brandt. “No matter where in the world a trial takes place, the user can track shipping of test materials, view GPS site-map information for each test planting, as well as analyze a catalog of evaluations, both UPOV and standard, including photography.”
The Hertha system will allow stakeholders to access all data accumulated, by cultivar, over the course of the propagation and testing phase. The tool also issues and manages all licenses and testing agreement documentation with translation capability in multiple languages.
As we wait to see what exciting cherry varieties are born of this venture, keep an eye out for the latest reports from ANUK.