Dr Vicky Foster
Prof Mark Stevens
Dr Simon Bowen
NFU Sugar Board
British Sugar plc
NFU Sugar Board
Bram van der Have
The day to day management of trials is carried by the contractors who have successfully tendered for the various work packages. Each contractor is represented on the Trials Technical Group (TTG), which reports to the Board. The TTG is responsible for ensuring that the procedures are reviewed each year and that any changes, endorsed by the Board, are notified to the UK Government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency - APHA.
APHA are responsible for the National Listing of new varieties. This is a legal requirement for all main crops and ensures that a variety is genuinely new and an improvement. New varieties must be distinct, uniform and stable (DUS) and, for agricultural crops, provide satisfactory value for cultivation and use (VCU). Three of the RL trials in each of two years are used to assess the status (DUS and VCU) of new candidate varieties.
The Crop Committee meet once a year to consider new candidate varieties for elevation to the RL / DL and to determine whether any existing candidates should be considered for removal. The Crop Committee works to a strict set of procedures and guidelines. Breeders have the opportunity to appeal decisions that they feel were made without following such procedures and guidelines. The Appeal Committee considers such applications.
The Crop Committee usually meets in the first week of January and consists of the BBRO and BSPB members of the RL Board plus other farmers and industry experts. The Crop Committee is chaired by the independent chairman of the RL Board. The Appeal Committee, if required, is separate from the Crop Committee but its members are well-versed in the rules and operations of the Crop Committee.