A small group of Cambridge scientists from Plant Sciences & SLCU visited KWS-UK seed breeders at Thriplow on the 13th July and talked to Jacob Lage, a pre-breeder at KWS about the challenges and innovations in crop breeding and pre-breeding research underway.
“It’s amazing how much planning ahead breeders have to do trying to understand what will be needed in few years time and the numerous strategies they find to always improve their seeds, by using new technologies or new ways of breeding (hybrids)”
On the evening of the 13th July at KWS-UK was the second gathering of the Cambridge branch of the Young Innovator’s Forum. A small group of Cambridge Plant scientists (15) visited KWS-UK seed breeders at Thriplow and talked to Jacob Lage, a pre-breeder at KWS about the challenges and innovations in crop breeding and pre-breeding research underway. Innovations on crop breeding were discussed among the enthusiastic plant scientists with highlights such as hybrid seeds research, spring wheat and rye as an alternative crop with high tolerance to draught and heat.
“It has to be a win-win-win to breeders, seed producers and farmers”
“UK should eat more rye, as it grows very well in this climate. However, for cultural and traditional reasons, people are skeptical about rye.”
Researchers wanted to know about the main differences between working in industry and academia, and the challenges farmers face in such a highly competitive food supply chain: “It’s important that breeders talk to retailers to make them understand the value of a seed”. The young farmers were keen to have the group coming to the farm and tell them about what they do on the lab so they can move forward.
This evening was another step on the journey of growing relationships between scientist-industry-farmer relationships, the practical applications, and how to work with and inform the research taking place. CambPlants is already planning with Agri-Tech East the next visit – we can’t wait!