Premier Primocanes from Breeding Programme

Lewis primocane raspberry

James Hutton Limited is introducing three new raspberry varieties to soft fruit growers in 2020 including two primocanes, Lewis and Skye.  Plants are now available from RW Walpole and Genson BV in the EU, and from Global Plant Genetics and Meiosis in select territories out with the EU.

Lewis and Skye are the first primocane raspberry varieties to be released from the Raspberry Breeding Consortium, leading to a decision to break from the traditional ‘Glen’ prefix for Hutton bred raspberries and instead, the new primocanes take their name from Scottish islands.

The varieties were selected for release by the 2014-2019 tranche of the James Hutton Limited Raspberry Breeding Consortium; a partnership of marketing and grower groups, propagators, AHDB and Scottish Government, that funds this breeding programme to create new, targeted raspberry varieties.  The 2020 releases have all been fast tracked due to both outstanding trial results for fruit quality, yield, flavour and size, and all-important retailer feedback.

Lewis crops in early autumn with similar picking dates to Polka and Imara. It produces very large, glossy fruit which deplugs easily, filling punnets quickly. Lewis’ brixo is high, leading to a sweet and aromatic vanilla flavour and the variety is very consistent in all aspects – fruit size, high yields and quality and especially in feedback. Lewis has always scored highly in tastings and retailer feedback has been excellent.

Skye is a double-cropping variety which shows consistent high quality in both summer and autumn crops. The autumn fruit starts picking between Kweli and Kwanza in trials at the James Hutton Institute and produces long straight cane which begins crops again in early summer, producing large, sweet fruit with low acidity and notes of vanilla. Like Lewis, Skye deplugs easily at a pink colour stage therefore has a high picking efficiency.

Speaking about her first primocane releases, breeder, Nikki Jennings, says, “These varieties follow the trend towards sweeter raspberry varieties to better meet the tastes of modern consumers. They are also large in size and glossy in appearance, making them easy on the eye, a prerequisite of consumers and retailers alike.  Growers will appreciate the improved picking efficiency of the primocanes with the combination of productivity and large fruit size that can be picked easily and quickly from the plant.”

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A tour of the Skye demonstration plot, summer 2020.

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Video footage of primocane raspberry, Skye

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A video tour of the Lewis demonstration plot, summer 2020. 

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Video footage of primocane raspberry, Lewis