JAMIE PETCHELL – DEVELOPMENT OF NEW VARIETIES OF ASPARAGUS AND BERRIES FOR GROWERS ACROSS THE WORLD

Jamie Petchell graduated from Hadlow College with a HND in Commercial Horticulture in 1997. He is now co-owner of Global Plant Genetics Ltd, a company specialising in variety solutions in berries and asparagus for international growers, produce businesses and nurseries. In addition, he is a co-owner of Innovation Profits Ltd, an organisation that specialises in helping UK food and horticultural businesses claim R&D tax credits and submitting Patent Box claims.

He started out his career at Hargreaves Plants, working in the berry plant nurseries and rapidly rose to become Commercial Director of the company at the age of 32. He oversaw the commercial growth of the plant propagation business from a UK enterprise to one that was recognised globally in plant supply and Intellectual Property Management.

Jamie is well regarded around the world for his in-depth knowledge of the asparagus crop, particularly in terms of varietal development and choice of plant material.

In 2004, he commissioned what were thought to be the largest asparagus hybrid trials in the world and took these from pure testing to the selection of at least three new commercial hybrids from different breeding stations. The most important of these varieties are Guelph Millennium from Canada and Pacific Green from New Zealand. They are now grown on all six of the world’s growing continents.

Jamie feels it is vital to invest in the students of today. To this end, Global Plant Genetics is working on collaborative projects with Hadlow College, the first of which are agronomic tests on new asparagus hybrids. The trial will be run by students from Hadlow and will look at optimum planting densities of asparagus varieties bred in Canada. This work provides valuable opportunities for students to undertake relevant applied research and network with industry. Future projects will include development work in blueberries.

 

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