June 2021 – 1st Edition
See the Forest Before the Seedlings
Genetic Demonstration Plantings
Product demonstrations are valuable tools for consumers and end-users in many industries. Perhaps you have seen a product demonstration for electronics or machinery where you can physically see the finished product in person, push the buttons, or “kick the tires.” When you test drive a car, you can feel how the vehicle handles, try the seats, and see how the dashboard is arranged. This same idea is possible with your forest tree seedlings. It’s hard to open a box of seedlings and “kick the tires” for future wood yield, disease resistance, and stem quality. Genetic demonstrations, or “demos,” are an excellent opportunity for landowners and foresters to see the differences between genetic performance levels of families on different soil types. They allow you to see the forest before the seedlings are selected, purchased, and planted on your land.
If you plant small amounts of different families on your land, you then have to wait several years for the trees to grow before deciding which performs the best. Not only that, you’ve had time to invest money to plant and manage them. This is where ArborGen demonstration plots become very valuable to our customers. We invest in the research, planting, and management for you. Genetic demonstrations of different families offer an opportunity for our customers to see how performance levels correspond to the actual trees in the field. Some people are data-oriented and want to see the numbers supporting the genetics they select, while others are more visual and prefer to see the differences in a field setting.
Each year ArborGen installs many acres of field trials on different sites to evaluate hundreds of families across the southeastern United States. These trials are designed to provide good statistical information to select the best-performing families for your land. The demos allow customers to view different families or varieties in larger plots such as in rows or blocks. A landowner can compare families on the same site and envision how that family may grow on their land, under their management. Documented performance scores can be compared to the trees in the field to help landowners connect the gain values to the appearance of the trees. How much should I care about fusiform rust resistance compared to growth or stem straightness? What does a family with 50% volume gain look like compared to one with 80% gain? Demos are planted each year so that we have a progression of plantings at different ages across the southeastern US to allow people to see OP families, MCP® families, or Varietals in a plantation setting before they decide to purchase.
Typically a range of product performance levels is included to see the differences in growth, disease resistance, and stem form. We also include an unimproved seedlot, or checklot, for comparison to the commercial families.
All of this is done to help demonstrate the opportunities a landowner has to increase the value and performance of their forest plantation by selecting the right genetics. A good demo enables you to see the forest before the trees are purchased and planted. Contact your Reforestation Advisor for more information on what our demo plots can show you.
Article by Patrick Cumbie, Ph.D.,
Assistant Director, Pine Development
Bringing the Trees to You
Join us for a virtual visit to some of our demonstration plots filmed in cutting-edge 360º video to see for yourself how elite genetics seedlings grow into disease-resistant, straight, and fast-growing trees. Stay tuned for future videos in this series in upcoming TreeLines.
Introduction by Patrick Cumbie.
Note: These videos can be of very high resolution so please consider using hi-speed broadband. When viewing on mobile devices, the viewpoint can change with the movement of your device to look around. When viewing on a computer, simply move your cursor around in the video to control the view.
Financial Relief Available for Storm Losses
Financial relief will soon be available to assist timber owners adversely affected by Hurricane Michael in 2018, as well as the Lee County tornadoes of March 2019. Administered by the Alabama Forestry Commission, the Hurricane Michael Block Grant is made possible through an agreement with the USDA Farm Service Agency.
This program was designed to provide $10 million in financial relief to qualifying non-industrial private forest landowners of Alabama with a one-time payment. Eligible citizens must own timber in the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Coffee, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Montgomery, Pike, or Russell. Additional eligibility requirements must be met for compensation of hurricane or tornado-related crop loss.
“We’re pleased to be able to provide this relief to those forest landowners who suffered losses during Hurricane Michael,” stated State Forester Rick Oates. “It’s very appropriate that the grant also include assistance for the landowners who were devastated by the Lee County tornadoes.”
Seedlings Going Fast!
We have seen an increase in demand for our MCP seedlings for this season’s planting. Call your Reforestation Advisor NOW to make sure you get what you need for your land.
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Get in touch with a Reforestation Advisor to explore your options!
Paul Jeffreys, Ph.D.
Western Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi
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Director, U.S. Sales
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