Malling™ Fruits has issued grower guidelines for Malling™ Centenary, its most successful variety that has become the strawberry industry’s standard Junebearer variety.
Bred by the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club (EMSBC) and released in 2013 to commemorate 100 years of research at NIAB’s East Malling site, Malling™ Centenary replaced the previous standard Elsanta, with its high quality fruit, increased Class 1 percentage and reduced picking costs.
The guidelines have been developed to help growers to maximise the variety’s yield potential, and were originally issued by Delphy from information generated by EMSBC’s cultural trials. Malling™ Fruits technical officer Alin Borleanu explains that the guidelines were updated using information from both Malling™ Fruits’ post-breeding development programme and commercial growers willing to share their own experiences. “We’re extremely grateful to all those growers who have contributed. Such openness will help the variety to succeed across the whole industry. The guidelines include some of the main challenges that growers need to overcome if Malling™ Centenary is to outperform Elsanta and other Junebearer varieties. They also offer guidance on optimum plant establishment, cultural management, chilling requirements, nutrition and crop protection.”
One glasshouse grower, managing a high-tech strawberry growing business in Lincolnshire, was very willing to share his experiences with Malling™ Centenary. He reminds growers to avoid forcing the variety into fruiting too quickly. “For December planted crops, aim for slow but steady early growth, targeting an average temperature of 10°C. For summer planted crops, do everything possible to relieve the stress on the plant in the first three weeks after planting. This approach may delay the start of harvest, but it has a really positive effect on yield and quality later in the crop’s life.”
In the past, growers adopting newly released varieties followed the cultivation ‘blueprint’ developed for the varieties being replaced. However, more often than not, a new variety required its own unique form of cultural management, so growers failed to achieve the maximum benefits on offer. A new cultural trialling system, instigated by EMSBC for all its most promising selections, circumvents this problem, and ensures that growers have the very best information available to maximise yields and quality.
Both grower guidelines and comprehensive information on all new varieties from the EMSBC can be found by visiting www.mallingfruits.com
Malling™ Centenary has been the most successful release from the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club, having sold around 390 million plants and currently around 68 million per annum. It has replaced the industry standard variety Elsanta due to its higher Class 1 percentage of fruit and reduced picking costs.
Malling™ Fruits works with industry consortia across the world to breed, develop and commercialise soft fruit varieties, including the phenomenally successful strawberry Malling™ Centenary and raspberries Malling™ Bella and Malling™ Charm. Malling™ Fruits is part of NIAB, based in East Malling in Kent, UK. Strawberry breeding first began at East Malling in 1983 for commercial and amateur markets and we have since launched 45 varieties of soft fruit with sales exceeding 500 million plants. Using a combination of traditional techniques and genomics-assisted breeding NIAB supports the efficient development of disease resistant, high quality varieties ensuring improved yield, fruit size and quality, lower fruit wastage, easier picking and season extension.