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Trialing the best

17 September 2019

A Pinus radiata breeding trial was recently established to test the offspring from some of the best trees in Australia.

Forest Genetics Manager Anjanette Chandler said that establishing this trial was complex.

“The Myalup trial consisted of 7,500 of the best seedlings available in Australia. This represented more than 270 different seedlots, all of which needed to be hand planted by our fantastic volunteers,” Dr. Chandler said.

“Each of these seedlots were individually labelled and planted out in a precise experimental design, allowing us to track each seedling over its full rotation.”

To maintain strict controls on the experiment the planting was done by FPC staff members.

“Fortunately, we had staff from several offices volunteering to get their hands dirty and plant trees over the week,” Dr. Chandler said.

Seed for this trial was provided by Tree Breeding Australia, the national Pinus radiata tree breeding cooperative, with the trial forming part of a series replicated across the country.

“An assessment at around seven years of age will provide information on how well the different seedlots perform both within and between trial sites,” Dr. Chandler said.

This will ultimately guide what should be planted in FPC seed orchards, ensuring the FPC is only using the best genetics.

“Thanks to all FPC staff who volunteered their time across the week, but special thanks to Mike Cully, Greg Hodgson, and Steve Davis who helped plant across multiple days,” Dr. Chandler said.

“Thanks also to the Nursery for their assistance with raising and labelling all the seedlings.”