Optimal use of genetics in deployment and tree breeding
The Southern Tree Breeding Association (STBA) has developed the SEEDPLAN toolset to manage the vast amounts of complex information generated in tree improvement programs which select for economically important traits. It is anticipated growers using SEEDPLAN will lift the economic value of genetically improved plants in softwood plantations by on average more than $80 NPV per hectare per year (marginal gain in profit above current industry standards); for eucalypt plantations the marginal gain is anticipated to be about $60 NPV per hectare per year. Assuming half the plantation industry benefits, this will equate to about $1.1 and $0.8 million NPV for pines and eucalypts, respectively, and the gains are cumulative. The SEEDPLAN toolset covers selection of genotypes (i.e. genetically different trees) to generate seed; putting copies of the genotype into a deployment orchard; placing a value on the genetic quality of the seed produced by the genotypes; customising the index (which generates that value) to reflect both the plantation’s growing environment and the wood products being produced. To ensure industry can use SEEDPLAN effectively, the project has developed training materials, including printed manuals, computer-based help files, and on-line, web-based help.