New Raspberry Demonstration Tunnels

Raspberry breeding tunnel

James Hutton Limited launched new raspberry demonstration tunnels at Fruit for the Future, the James Hutton Institute’s annual soft fruit-themed event, on Thursday 19 July 2018. The tunnels were officially opened by Kirstene Hair, MP for Angus and James Hutton Limited Raspberry Breeder, Nikki Jennings.

The new demonstration tunnels will be home to the most promising raspberries selected from the more traditional soil grown breeding plots, both primocane and floricane. Selections will be grown in pots, rather than in the soil, which is now becoming the preferred method for commercial growers.

Pots are increasingly in use to fight raspberry root rot, a disease which is increasingly present in soil and cannot be eradicated. The pots increase heat to the roots and are portable, so plants can be moved according to conditions. They also reduce the risk of contamination between plots and help prolong the season, thereby potentially lessening the demand for imported fruit.

James Hutton Limited fruit breeder Nikki Jennings said: “It’s very exciting to welcome visitors throughout the summer, particularly to Fruit for the Future, to view our selections and varieties in a fresh new tunnel.

“The tunnels will showcase all the varieties to the best standards of a commercial system so visitors can view the plants as they would be in the ‘real world’. It will be a great opportunity for them to view James Hutton Institute bred varieties at their best in the place that they were bred.

“I think this will be the catalyst for an overall change in our breeding process; we’re starting to move other selections into pots too. It’s definitely the way forward for our breeding programme offering more flexibility and control."

The tunnels have been equipped with the generous support of commercial companies Elite Tunnels, XL Horticulture, Ripple Aquaplast, AgriTech Services Ltd, Brinkman UK, Legro and Omex.

Raspberry breeding

Raspberry breeder, Nikki Jennings, with representatives from tunnel sponsors Ripple Aquaplast, AgriTech Services Ltd, Omex and XL Horticulture.