Box 71 Horticulture and Food Research Institute Hort Research

HortResearch is extensively involved in developing new plant varieties. We have expert breeding capability in a range of fruiting, ornamental, and agro-forestry crops. Our plant breeders work with industry in order to develop new varieties and rootstocks to provide cultural or market advantages for growers. These activities are backed by extensive in-house scientific capability in sensory science, genetics and plant physiology to assist in making selections to suit the environments, end uses and tastes of different cultural groups both within New Zealand and around the world.

The fruit breeding programmes aim for variety, flavour, texture, storage life, appearance, productivity, pest and disease resistance and climatic adaptation.

HortResearch is a world leader in apple cultivar development. Examples of our success are the Pacific apple series ('Pacific Rose', 'Pacific Beauty', and 'Pacific Queen') marketed by ENZAFRUIT. This new variety development is also well supported by technical back up in orchard production, integrated pest management, postharvest handling and associated capabilities within HortResearch.

Source: Adapted from a publicity letter from Dr Ian Warrington, CEO, HortResearch.

Case studies: product development in the food system 321 Table 7.1 Timetable for the development of Pacific Rose apples

1st cycle (product strategy)

Discussion from 'Pacific' markets of need for blush apples 6 months Grown in glasshouses

18 months

Expert selection

Grown in open ground

Selected on resistance to ' blackspot' and

' powdery mildew'

2nd cycle (product design and process development)

Grown in fruit selection orchards

4 years

Selected on fruit characteristics Grown on two sites

Selected by plant breeders, pomologists, 2 years on fruit and growing characteristics

Judged for market suitability

3rd cycle (product commercialisation and product launch)

2 years Growing expanded

1993 Seedlings distributed to growers

1994 Pomology developed, storage trials

1995 Multiplied by commercial breeders/growers

1996 Commercial production

20,000 seedlings 8000 seedlings

5000 seedlings 100-200 seedlings

10 seedlings

1 variety selected

1000 cartons 5000 cartons 22,000 cartons 104,000 cartons

The stages and approximate timing of the development of Pacific Rose are shown in Table 7.1. This indicates the very extended time scale, arising from the intervals necessary for the seedlings of each successive generation to grow so that their fruit can be evaluated.

Plant breeders normally talk about development cycles and these have been arbitrarily related to the PD Process. Because of the nature of developing apples there is not an exact date for launch, but the market is expanded in a rolling launch as the fruit becomes available.

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