The public good role of agriculture is increasingly emphasised in discourse on sector sustainability, and most OECD countries are now locked into a range of commitments on climate, change mitigation, soil and water quality improvement and biodiversity conservation. In this context, the development of new varieties will increasingly face the challenge of demonstrating financial benefits while contributing to the management of good and bad external impacts. Characterisation and evaluation of cereal varieties for both market and environmental values would be a significant step towards developing new sustainability criteria for the variety testing system and for reducing the reliance on high inputs. At present, successful varieties are characterised by high yields in response to fertilisers, fungicides and plant growth regulators and without competition from weeds. EU Directives require testing for value for cultivation and use (VCU) as part of National Listing (NL), based on yield, resistance to harmful organisms and quality characteristics, which are primarily market-led drivers. UK farming would benefit from varieties (and their traits) giving quantifiable environmental benefits as well as high market value, and although EU Directives do not preclude additional criteria, the NL testing system is almost entirely funded by applicants (i.e. plant breeders), and consequently assessment of traits with possible environmental benefits is limited to disease resistance. The stated objective of improving the public good benefits of new varieties suggests the need to improve our understanding of traits conferring such benefits and how they could be incorporated in VCU testing. Examples are plant traits of general value to lower inputs e.g. yield without fungicide and with more importance placed on disease resistance ratings, high weed suppression characteristics, early crop vigour and widening of sowing dates to offset weed, pest and disease build-up.
|Publication status||Print publication - 2007|
|Event||Agricultural Field Trials – Today and Tomorrow - Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Stuttgart-Hohenheim, Germany|
Duration: 8 Oct 2007 → 10 Oct 2007
|Conference||Agricultural Field Trials – Today and Tomorrow|
|Period||8/10/07 → 10/10/07|