Breeding oilseed rape varieties that are tolerant to cabbage stem flea beetle could happen in the next decade, delegates attending the CropTec Crop Breeding seminar heard.
Professor Steven Penfield, researcher at the John Innes Centre explained how in lab-based studies different varieties of oilseed rape showed large variation in how palatable they were to CSFB. “There were two lines at the extreme. Line ‘A’ was not eaten, even when CSFB were not given a choice of lines whereas they found line ‘B’ very tasty.”
Early field trials have shown that less palatable varieties last longer than more palatable varieties in the face of CSFB attack. The aim now is to enter less palatable varieties into a pre-breeding programme aimed at identifying genes conferring tolerance to CSFB. “There is some hope that we can breed tolerant varieties but don’t expect a solution tomorrow,” said Prof Penfield. “It will take a few years.”