Plant & Food Research has over 40 years' experience in developing new fruit, vegetable, arable and ornamental cultivars.

We use conventional breeding techniques, manually crossing parent plants with defined characteristics, to develop premium cultivars with novel traits for consumer, grower and producer. We are also implementing new ‘fast breeding’ technologies to accelerate the breeding process, including marker assisted selection practices developed by our genomics team. We utilise biometry to assist in efficient parental and seedling selection and to evaluate the influence of genotype/environment interaction.

Seedling progeny from the breeding programme are screened to determine the plants with the greatest genetic potential for commercial success. These seedlings are grown and planted on our farm research network, which comprises more than 300 hectares of orchard and farmland across New Zealand’s major growing regions. Here, each is further assessed before advanced selections pass into larger-scale growing trials.

We also conduct rootstock selection trials for our fruit breeding programmes.