Malling™ Fruits has issued grower guidelines for Malling™ Centenary, its most successful variety, which has become the strawberry industry’s standard June-bearer.
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, MallingTM 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 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 June-bearer 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 reminded 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 10oC. 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, often 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.
Grower guidelines and comprehensive information on all new varieties from the EMSBC can be found by visiting the Malling Fruits webpage at www.mallingfruits.com or www.niab.com/services/plant-breeding/malling-fruits.