Tree breeders from Germany recently visited the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Loughgall where trials on wild Cherry clonal selections are being undertaken as part of collaborative work between AFBI and Teagasc.
The work is investigating the genetic potential of a range of hardwood tree species for the island of Ireland and is focusing on 33 selections of wild cherry (a native species) which were planted in 2010. Of these clones, 24 were taken from a German tree-breeding programme – Silvaselect.
During the visit, the principal breeder from the programme, Dr Andreas Meier Dinkel from the Nordwestdeutche Forstliche Versuchsanstalt, was greatly surprised to see that the growth rates and straight stem form at Loughgall was every bit as good as that found in the Lower Saxony region of Germany.
Dr Meier Dinkel was accompanied by Dr Cornelia Bäucker, Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics and Ms Sonja Merkel from the Hummel Company, the first to commercialise the Silvaselect brand.
The meeting was organised by Dr Gerry Douglas, Teagasc, Irish co-ordinator of the project. Prof Jim McAdam (AFBI) welcomed the visitors and conducted a tour of the agroforestry and tree breeding programmes which included discussion with Linda Walsh (Head of AFBI’s renewable energy cropping programmes at Loughgall) and AFBI, Loughgall based PhD student Rory Lunny who highlighted his Agroforestry with Coppice doctorate research.
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