The Product Development Pipeline – What Comes Next
Last year we launched MCP® 2.0 for the Coastal provenance of Loblolly Pine, a product with greater rust resistance and increased in volume over our MCP Elite. What comes next? When will we have MCP 3.0?
Some clients are already asking these questions! ArborGen Product Development is committed to testing and developing new and better Loblolly Pine families to continually improve the performance and value for landowners. We have the largest Product Development group in our industry, with deep expertise in genetics and over 800 field trials. Our work takes long-term commitment to get the best genetics to our customers. It currently takes 12 years to breed and test and select new families and another ten years to bring these new families to the market.
It takes even longer to scale up production, so all customers have an opportunity to buy the latest genetics. How do we deal with a long development process and generate new products?
We must have a pipeline of new families evaluated and selected for next-level performance. In tree breeding, we must develop a population of trees for the next generation, not just 1 or 2 families. Since 2010 we have field-tested more than 550 families in the southeastern US. We can generate predictions for families, but we use field data to confirm performance for commercial MCP and OP families. These families are used to evaluate and select new MCP and OP families as well as select new trees for the next generation of breeding.
What will the future performance be for next-generation MCP and OP families? At ArborGen, we set a target to achieve improved performance.
Without actually breeding and testing these new hybrids, we cannot confirm the performance of MCP families. Therefore, we intensively test all our new MCP hybrids, accumulating more than 1 million data points each year. Our breeding and testing goals are to improve key traits such as volume growth, log straightness, rust resistance, and reduced forking rates.
For most traits, we can make incremental improvements in each breeding cycle. That might look like an additional 5% to 10% gain for volume growth. We always try to use the best statistical and scientific approaches to generate data for making decisions. We look for ways to make the process better and faster such as new analytical methods and genomic technologies.
Once new families are identified in our pipeline, we begin to scale up seed production of the best families. We also begin breeding the next generation of trees so that by the time we are bringing new families to the market, the next generation is already being bred and field-tested. Tree improvement in the southern pines began in the 1950s, and we are now breeding the 5th generation of loblolly pine. With better tools and technology today, we will continue to generate better-performing families for years to come.
With this pipeline of products from which to choose, your Reforestation Advisor can offer you the best opportunity to maximize the return on your investment. Contact them to find out how our advanced genetic seedlings can improve your bottom line.
Success Story: JD Neeley
Today we’re checking in with John David Neeley – Forestry Consultant with Neeley Forestry Service in Camden, Arkansas.
Neeley Forestry Service is celebrating a 50-year anniversary this year and John walks us through his family’s legacy at Neeley and how they came to trust the quality seedlings and variety you can find at ArborGen nurseries.
Get to Know Greg Hay
Today we’re getting to know Greg Hay, Reforestation Advisor for ArborGen in Arkansas, Northern Louisiana, and Oklahoma.
Watch this video to learn more about Greg and his vast experience of 45 years of passion and dedication to forestry.
Get in touch with a Reforestation Advisor to explore your options!
Paul Jeffreys, Ph.D.
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Geoffrey Lee Hill
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