Our vegetable varieties have achieved a level of recognition in recent years. Our varieties of brassicas have achieved considerable commercial success of late, with our portfolio of swede varieties accounting for about 50% of the total UK market and our kale variety, Caledonian, becoming a market leader. New varieties of swede and kale will be commercialised in the next year or two and look set to consolidate our market position.
The swedes Airlie, Kenmore and Brora came from traditional pedigree inbreeding programmes, Virtue from a single seed descent programme, and Invitation from the introgression of clubroot resistance from a Dutch stubble turnip into a breeding line with good resistance to powdery mildew. Kenmore and Virtue were also part of a research programme on hybrid vigour, in which it was shown that an inbred line (Kenmore) could outyield its high yielding and heterotic F1 progenitor, and that single seed descent is an efficient way to breed an inbred cultivar (Virtue).
The turnip Massif is a high yielding, open-pollinated, green-top yellow turnip, which comprises the sixth generation of a population improvement programme started in 1978 and in which the main selection criterion was simply high dry matter yield.
Caledonian kale is a medium height, high yielding, open-pollinated, marrow-stem kale with non-race specific resistance to clubroot. It came from a population improvement scheme for this trait started in 1980 from 120 plants selected for clubroot resistance from 16 cultivars of diverse geographical origin.
Interval forage rape, another of our vegetable varieties, is the product of selection for high yield and mildew resistance from a cross between a tetraploid Brassica napus synthesised from B. oleracea (marrow stem kale) and B. rapa ssp. nipposinica and the forage rape cultivar Emerald.