December 4, 2013

Plant Breeder Yasuko Isobe: Consumer Lifestyles Will Demand More Environmentally Friendly Crops

People are more conscientious about living healthy lives and protecting the environment, says this Suntory Flowers breeder.

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December 2, 2013

Plant Breeder Troy Thorup: If Consumers’ Needs Aren’t Met, They Won’t Buy

Troy Thorup breeds various seed and vegetative annual bedding plants for PanAmerican Seed. He has been a breeder for 13 years and holds a Ph.D. in plant genetics and breeding GG: What crops do you feel will be relevant and important over the next 30 years? Thorup: Anything that can balance the combination of beautiful and hard to kill. GG: Will the fervor for all new varieties continue in the industry? Will breeders begin to focus on filling consumers’ needs? Thorup: In my breeding, I don’t view these two things as separate issues. My goal in creating new varieties is largely driven to fulfill consumers’ needs. At the end of the day, if the consumers’ needs aren’t met, they will not buy the product. GG: How will breeders address needs to reduce chemicals by increasing crop resistance to pests and diseases? Thorup: This is a tough question to answer concisely […]

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December 2, 2013

Plant Breeder Jason Jandrew: Multifunctional Plants Are The Future

This young breeder for Ball Horticultural Co. says breeders can take a cue from cell phones: keep adding features.

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December 2, 2013

Plant Breeder Hans Hansen: The Future’s Plants Will Be Smaller Versions Of Older Cultivars

Hans Hansen is the director of new plant development, heading up the hybridizing department for Walters Gardens Inc. in Zeeland, Mich. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Hansen has been hybridizing plants since he was in high school. At Walter’s Gardens, he manages perennial crops including hemerocallis, hostas, monardas, digitalis, baptisias, leucanthemums and ferns, among others. What direction do you feel breeding is headed? We are living in an absolutely incredible time to be a plant breeder. Recent advancements in science and technology are opening an entirely new direction and present fascinating new opportunities for hybridizers. These include new species recently being discovered, mutagenic plant breeding, new classifications of plants based on scientific studies and new tools not available previously. The internet has turned the world into a very small place. What crops do you feel will be relevant and important over the next 30 years? With the general […]

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December 2, 2013

Plant Breeder Brent Horvath: Grasses Are A Breeding Focus

Brent Horvath is the owner of Intrinsic Perennial Gardens, Inc., headquartered in Hebron, Ill. Horvath grew up in the industry, working at his parents’ garden center and florist shop. He holds a degree in ornamental horticulture from Oregon State University and today, he grows a wide range of perennials and ornamental grasses. GG: How long have you been a breeder or studying to be a breeder? Horvath: I started in the mid ’90s. After I read Alan Bloom’s Hardy Perennials book, where he talked about how many of his introductions came about, I really started becoming more interested in selecting and breeding. GG: What direction is your breeding career taking? Horvath: As a perennial grower with ornamental grasses being a big part of our production and sales, I focus on those plants that sell well for me. Half of my business is to landscapers and around 20 percent to retailers. […]

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December 2, 2013

Plant Breeder Amanda Hershberger: Pest And Disease Resistances Is Within Our Grasp

Amanda Hershberger is a plant breeder for Syngenta. She holds a B.S. in horticulture from Purdue University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in horticulture from the University of Georgia. GG: How will breeders address needs to reduce chemicals by increasing crop resistance to pests and diseases? How far away is this technology? Hershberger: Resistance breeding is vital to the success of many crops and reduces the need for chemical control, as well as reducing the pest’s development of resistance to a chemical control. My personal work experience involves resistance of vinca to Phytophthora. Breeding for pest and disease resistance in ornamental plants has primarily utilized traditional breeding methods. Resistance breeding has also included molecular methods for problems such as black spot in rose and Fusarium in carnation. Agronomic crops have really paved the way for resistance development using molecular markers. I foresee a greater use of molecular techniques to achieve resistance […]

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December 2, 2013

Plant Breeder Joseph Tychonievich: Rock Gardening Will Be The Next Big Gardening Trend

Take a look at the other trends Tychonievich says he sees shaping the next 30 years of the greenhouse industry.

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December 2, 2013

Plant Breeder Kelly Norris: Breeders Must Be Champions Of New Genera

Kelly Norris is currently the horticulture director at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and he holds two degrees (B.S., M.S.) in horticulture from Iowa State University. Norris has been part of the industry since age 15, when he talked his parents into buying a nursery and moving it from Texas to their family farm in Iowa. As the owner of Rainbow Iris Farm, he started breeding irises 12 years ago and continues to focus on breeding independently, as well as in the new breeding program at the botanical garden. GG: As a young breeder, what direction do you feel breeding is headed? Norris: I feel there are two kinds of plant breeders entering the market today. There are those coming of out graduate school looking for jobs in the industry (which aren’t plentiful) and end up toiling away with petunias and commodity crops. I feel for them. Then there […]

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December 2, 2013

Plant Breeder Ockert Greyvenstein: Minimal Inputs Are A Future Breeding Requirement

Greyvenstein also says edible landscapes and hardy grasses will become more relevant floriculture crops.

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December 2, 2013

Plant Breeder Ping Ren: Breeding Must Meet Consumer And Grower Needs

Jianping (Ping) Ren breeds various seed and vegetatively propagated annuals and perennials for PanAmerican Seed, where she has worked for 13 years. Ren received a Ph.D. in plant breeding in 1998 at Cornell University. Before coming to the floriculture industry, Ren was a vegetable breeder in China with a focus on Brassica vegetables. GG: Will the fervor for all new varieties continue in the industry?  Ren: There are so many new varieties each year. It can be confusing and sometimes difficult for growers and consumers to keep up. But we are all looking for “new” things all the time. There has to be something “new” each year. Of course, some new varieties are new for certain improved traits, which are necessary and can benefit breeding companies (high yield, reduced cost), growers (high germ, more uniform) and consumers (better color and garden performance). The more exciting new for the industry is “true” new […]

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December 2, 2013

Today’s Breeders On Tomorrow’s Plants

One of the future challenges is the continuing need for new and improved crops for the consumer. Make no mistake about it, new crops — and new breeders — are the lifeblood of this industry.

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