The state of plant breeding in a pandemic

The new plant pipeline remains unclogged, despite a few hiccups triggered by COVID-19. Plant breeders have adapted quickly to their new work environments by employing multiple strategies such as videos, photos, FaceTime, and more to keep the plant selection process moving.

While uncertainty surrounds 2021, breeders say they will continue to find ways to stay connected with growers and dealers to keep introducing new plants that work successfully for growers and consumers. 

“Agriculture doesn’t stop, which means innovation and collaboration can’t stop either,” says Mourad Abdennadher, Ph.D., Head of Americas Vegetable Breeding and Testing at Bayer Vegetables. 

Limited Travel Options Pose Some Challenges
Travel is an integral part of the breeding and plant selection process as a way for companies to visit trials and connect with outside breeding partners. Ideally, breeders use the tactile experience of seeing and touching plants in person to make their evaluations. However, being homebound has led to an increased focus on internal breeding and development. Breeders also say they’ve discovered some more efficient and effective opportunities they’ll embed in future processes.

Read more at Greenhouse Grower (Janeen Wright)

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