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Maintenance of the National Fruit Collections and germplasm distribution - GC0141

The work in this project is targeted at maintaining the National Fruit Collections (NFC) at Brogdale, Kent and and distributing germplasm from them. The NFC is an "ex-situ" gene bank comprising of over 2,231 varieties of apple, 550 of pear, 350 of plum, 220 of cherry and smaller collections of bush fruits, nuts and vines.

The NFC represents part of Defra's commitment to the conservation of plant genetic resources (PGR) ratified in the Convention on Biological Diversity. This project works to fulfil Defras policy aims of:
- ensuring that PGR are available as a basis for research
- meeting the UK's specific international obligations relating to gene banks with international status
- contributing to world-wide networks of PGR
- facilitating the characterisation and utilisation of PGR in agriculture
- responding to research needs based on material in U.K. collections

Defra supports the NFC through two separate but complementary projects. One, with the Brogdale Horticultural Trust (BHT) (this project), is for the maintenance of the Collections to standards of best agricultural practise and the supply of germplasm from the collections to the non-scientific and scientific communities. The other, with Imperial College-Wye campus is for the scientific development of the Collections, maintenance and development of records and archives, the characterisation and verification of the Collections and the taking of orders for germplasm from the scientific users of the Collections.

In this project, the BHT will manage and, where necessary, propagate the Collections to approved standards in line with procedures agreed with Imperial College-Wye campus. These will conform to standards based on those of the U.K. Assured Produce scheme which has accredited the Trust for commercial horticultural practise relating to the field collections at Brogdale. Cost-effective crop husbandry will be used in maintaining the Collections with respect to Plant Health (in conjunction with Defra Plant Health Inspectorate), agronomy (including pruning, mulching, fertiliser application, staking, netting and wind break maintenance) as well as protection against pests, diseases and weeds. BHT will be guided in tree husbandry by the National Fruit Collections Advisory Committee made up of end users, growers, nursery owners, the scientific community as well as specialist fruit consultants. Propagation will be carried out according to a framework schedule agreed in 2000 between the National Fruit Collections Advisory Committee and the BHT.

In addition, the BHT will distribute germplasm in the form of budwood and graft wood from the NFC (with the exception of varieties protected by Plant Breeders/Plant Variety Rights) to non-scientific users (for example nurserymen and amateur gardeners) to whom BHT invoices a service charge as well as servicing requests received by Imperial College-Wye campus to scientific users of the NFC.
Overall Objectives: Developing, maintaining and propagating the National Fruit Collections in line with a strategy overseen by the National Fruit Collection Advisory Committee and agreed with Imperial College-Wye campus in line with appropriate scientific and commercial horticultural relevant standards. Distribute material requested from the collections.

01 Implement changes to the Collections as directed by Imperial College-Wye campus according to the Accessions and De-accessions policies for the Collections.

02 Propagate the Collections and maintain varietal representation in line with the framework schedule agreed between the National Fruit Collection Advisory Committee and the Brogdale Horticultural Trust.

03 Implement cost-effective crop husbandry practises appropriate for the proper maintenance of the Collections under the guidance of the National Fruit Collections Advisory Committee and in line with standard practise of the Assured Produce scheme and LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) with regard to plant health (in conjunction with Defra Plant Health Inspectorate), agronomy (including pruning, mulching, fertiliser application, staking, netting, windbreak maintenance) and protection against pests, diseases and weeds.

04 To advertise and, in response to requests, obtain and distribute germplasm from the collections (as budwood and graftwood) to non-scientific and scientific users.

Project Documents
• Final Report : National Fruit Collections-Maintenance and Information Transfer   (167k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2008

Cost: £148,399
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Brogdale Horticultural Trust
Plant Genetic Resources              
Science Policy              
Fields of Study
Plant Genetics