Growing Magazine features the Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC) in an article titled, “Collaborative and Organic.”
Jim Myers, professor of horticulture at Oregon State University, manages NOVIC. He listed a few advantages to the project: “I think it gives us a broad set of environments and many environments in one year for testing our breeding materials. That’s always a problem with breeders. It takes a lot of resources to run a trial. My rule of thumb is to have at least nine year-locations of data before I release a variety. That could be like three locations in three years, or one location in nine years or some combination. You need that multi-environment data to really understand how varieties behave.”
The collaborative focus on five crops gives researchers a snapshot of a variety performing in four regions of the country and multiple trials. Myers said, “We have these mother-daughter trial arrangements where we have the replicated trial on station at the hub location, and then three satellite trials on organic farms with these materials.”
As a partner in NOVIC, OSA is working on a good March harvest carrot for the Pacific Northwest. We’re breeding a Nantes-type carrot at Nash Huber’s farm in Sequim, Washington. Jim Myers thinks the new carrot may work in a number of “maritime” environments, including northern California and Long Island.
Micaela Colley, OSA’s executive director and director of research and education, said: “Most research is not aimed toward fulfilling the agronomical and market needs of organic producers, so this project is unique in that it’s a collaboration of five institutions that are receiving input from organic producers on what they need in terms of qualities in vegetable crops, and then breeding in response to those needs.”