Adapting Value for Cultivation and Use testing to stimulate the release of improved varieties for the organic sector. The case of spring wheat in The Netherlands

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Abstract

Value for Cultivation and Use (VCU), the mandatory variety testing system for agricultural crops in the European Union (EU), has been used as a policy instrument by favouring the release of variety types that enable socially desirable developments, such as reducing fungicide use. With this paper, we aim to assess whether VCU can be used to enhance the availability of varieties suitable to organic farming. Therefore, we analyse data of an organic spring wheat VCU project that was conducted between 2001 and 2004 at three locations in the Netherlands. Varieties selected through organic VCU were clearly more suitable for organic production than those registered through the conventional procedure. However, new varieties could not match the baking quality of the organic standard variety. We conclude that enhancing the number of suitable varieties for the organic sector requires adapting both conventional breeding programmes as well as the VCU system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-111
JournalOrganic Agriculture
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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