The aim of our research and breeding programme is to develop new varieties of hops which are able to compete in the market, yet are also able to be cultivated efficiently. In developing tangible breeding objectives we therefore look to our customers and their needs, but also to relevant agricultural issues. Regional and location-specific climatic conditions are also taken into consideration. Predominant among the qualities we consider are the varietal characteristic, such as resistance to or tolerance for certain diseases and also yield.
The work involved in developing a new hop follows well defined procedures of traditional cross breeding as well as marker assisted selection and these are regularly revised to conform to latest scientific findings and technical knowledge. More recently genome research through which the molecular basis of the phenotype characteristics are analysed has become of considerable significance. From the results of genome research, new methods of molecular marker technology can be developed, but importantly without use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s).
This has produced some new and interesting aroma and flavour hops which will be presented during the lecture; however the core challenge for the HOPSTEINER breeding programme is and will continue to be to increase the yield per hectare and to further reduce pesticide usage. By so doing we can safeguard our core business whilst generating excitement in the industry with these new varieties.