A new factsheet from AHDB
Horticulture summarises the attributes of the main varieties released in the
second tranche of the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club, as well as details
of promising selections developed during the same period.
Three varieties from the
second tranche (which started in 2013) are in the process of being commercialised.
The late-season June-bearer Malling Allure (EM2157) and the disease resistant
Everbearers Malling Champion (EMR564) and EMR639.
Malling Allure is described
as ‘a robust plant, with moderate vigour in comparison with other late-season
varieties.’ It is 10-12 days later than Elsanta and has fruit quality similar
to Malling Centenary. Malling Champion is ‘an early season Everbearer,
which produces its peak harvest in July and picks steadily through August.’ It
is resistant to crown rot (Phytophthora
cactorum) and wilt (Verticillium
dahliae) and shows moderate resistance to powdery mildew (Podosphaera aphanis), as
Six other selections from
the programme are due to advance to large scale grower trials, including two
June-bearers and four Everbearers. The East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club
(EMSBC) was formed in 2008 to continue the national strawberry programme that
began at East Malling Research in 1983. The second tranche of AHDB-funded work
runs until 2023.
Scientists at East Malling Research (EMR) have been awarded £482,000 to study ‘Apple Replant Disease (ARD) Evolution and Rootstock Interaction (ARDERI)’.
Apple Replant Disease affects newly planted apple trees, which fail to thrive in areas where apples have previously grown. EMR will also collaborate with industry partners to provide detailed information about the disease, which it hopes could be used to develop new management strategies and provide significant input into breeding programmes.
“ARD is a complex disease syndrome and, until recent advances in DNA sequencing technology, it has been practically impossible to develop effective control measures against it”, commented EMR’s Leader of Genetics and Crop Improvement, Professor Xiangming Xu. He continued “With this new BBSRC, NERC and industry funding we will gain a greater understanding of the relationship between the causal agents, the rootstocks and the soil microbial populations. This new understanding will enable us to develop and implement effective control strategies for tomorrow’s fruit growers.”
This announcement is part of £4M being spent by BBSRC and NERC to fund six projects to benefit key crops. The funding is the second round of awards from the Horticulture and Potato Initiative (HAPI), which was developed by BBSRC together with NERC and the Scottish Government to support high quality, industrially relevant research projects on potato and edible horticulture crops.
Soft fruit supplier CPM, which is part of the AG Thames Group, has trialled two new strawberry varieties which came from an exclusive breeding programme at East Malling Research in Kent.
“Although still being trialled, results so far have been extremely positive and we expect commercial volumes to be widely available in 2017,” said Tom Rogers from CPM “Both selections have continued to perform well and be more productive than the standard varieties. As we continue the process it will be possible to continue to improve on this with better understanding of the new varieties through time.
“The breeding programme is unique in its focus to look for varieties that perform well in substrate,” Rogers continued. “It is a system that is becoming most widely used by growers due to its unrivalled benefits. We are therefore well placed to provide our dedicated growers and our customers with material that can help their businesses grow and outperform the competition.”
The names of the new varieties have not yet been released, but according to reports one has large, sweet fruit while the other is smaller with a balance of sugar and acid.
Abi Johnson, from East Malling Research, added, “These selections looked extremely promising at East Malling Research, and I’m delighted to see an equally good performance in grower trials.”