ISSUE DATE: 11/11/2013
By Jennifer M. Latzke
We all see the signs at the edges of fields denoting the varieties in field trials. Farmers go to university and corporate field days where the latest plant hybrids and varieties are on display in real-world growing conditions. They pore over lists of new seed releases and discuss the merits of one plant number over another.
And yet, farmers take for granted that field trials are logical extensions of releasing new and improved crops to boost yields and quality and ultimately our bottom lines.
Adrianne Massey, Ph.D., is the managing director of Science and Regulatory Affairs for the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Massey said the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reported that in 2012, about 12,000 field trials were conducted in the United States—and of those only five were found to be in noncompliance with APHIS regulations.
“Field trials are longstanding tools for managing agricultural research and product development,” Massey said. “They allow universities and companies to test new seed varieties before they are placed on the market in order to verify they are of the highest quality. Field trials also help industry, government and university scientists understand how plants function in real-life growing conditions in different environments and at variable locations.”
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