Arable News

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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New lab will help speed wheat breeding progress

As part of its continued development and expansion, KWS UK has opened anew 0.5m laboratory at its Thriplow HQ near Cambridge.

The facility will enable the companys plant breeders to test up to 50thousand developmental lines every year and speed the selection of the best newvarieties for UK farmers. 

According to KWS UK, Research Director and Global Wheat Breeding Lead,Prof Chris Tapsell, the laboratory will primarily undertake quality tests onearly generation material.

It will help us analyse the quality of promising experimental wheatsand will be a local source for the production of double haploid lines to speedup the breeding programmes. 

By linking these to the molecular marker information we collect in ourlaboratories in Germany, we will be better placed to fast-track material, hesays.

Prof Tapsell pointed out that KWSs wheat breeding activities aregrowing globally and the winter and spring wheat breeding, pre-breeding andresearch teams are creating an increasing number of market leading varieties.

Fundamental to the success of this are the support functions in plantpathology, molecular markers, genomics, bioinformatics, and in this specificcontext, quality analysis and wheat double haploid technologies.

So, with the growing success of our UK business we have invested in UKfacilities, re-developing the site at Thriplow and this has involved theopening of a dedicated, state of the art new research laboratory, he said.

We expect it will ensure greater efficiency in our activities andfurther strengthen the support required for our breeding programmes.  This will help us to bring even better newvarieties to the market to meet the new challenges growers now face.

KWS UK Managing Director Andrew Newby said that the new laboratory willalso help the business identify key commercial traits for the end-user.

We havestrengthened early collaboration between our commercial and breeding teams andthis facility also will help us to speed up the development of better varietiesto benefit all in the supply chain, he said.

Our aim is tobring varieties onto farm with as much added-value as possible and the key isto identify, select and fast-track material that is more attractive to thebuyer and end-user.

Last harvestaround one in every three UK wheat fields and every second winter barley fieldwere down to a KWS variety.

The new lab will also be used for quality analyses of barley and oilseedrape as part of KWSs other breeding activities in the UK.


  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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