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50 years of cereal breeding milestones celebrated

Winter barley plantings are down, but spring plantings are up.
Winter barley plantings are down, but spring plantings are up.

Variety development ‘twists and turns’ over the last 50 years have been visualised in a new video animation published by  levy body AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.

AHDB has also published a series of articles looking at major research successes since 1965.

The new material has been developed as part of AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds ‘50 years’ celebration.

At Cereals 2015 earlier this year, AHDB collaborated with BSPB to display a giant variety development timeline charting key plant breeding milestones over the last 50 years.

The timeline has now been brought to life with the assistance of an animated spiralling DNA double helix.

Events start in 1964 with the establishment of the Plant Varieties and Seeds Act.

This provided a legal framework for the collection of royalties on protected crop varieties.

With plant breeders’ intellectual property secured, it helped fund half a century of varietal improvement.

Ellie Marshall, AHDB Research Manager, said: “The video takes the viewer on a grand tour of breeding milestones of the last half century.

“Cappelle Desprez, for example, dominated the British winter wheat area for 20 years from the mid-1950s.

“It had durable resistance to yellow rust and was widely used by plant breeders during the development of modern wheat varieties.

“In the early 1970s, Maris Huntsman arrived on the scene. Offering a 20% yield advantage over Cappelle Desprez, it became the new market leader.”

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