Accelerating Willow Breeding and Deployment (AWBD)

Led by Rothamsted Research

The Accelerating Willow Breeding and Deployment (AWBD) project will accelerate the breeding of SRC willow and generate information to guide the intelligent deployment of current varieties. Building on specialist willow expertise at Rothamsted Research, both activities will ensure that SRC willow is optimised for deployment in the UK at the scale required.

Genomic Selection (GS) will improve selection for complex traits including yield. It will also improve confidence in selection, allowing us to bring new, improved varieties to the market faster. This will greatly accelerate improved variety production and deployment, whilst lowering breeding costs for each new variety introduced.

AWBD will involve planting, growing and measuring a large number of willow genotypes at 5 diverse environments in the UK and quantifying performance for integration with genomic data. The environments include cool and warm temperatures, a droughted site, one subject to winter flooding and one where disease pressure is particularly high. This will provide the data to calculate GEBVs which will be applied to our breeding programme. Simultaneously, we will generate performance data of value to the industry on matching variety to environment. This will be disseminated via multiple routes.

A consequence of accelerating selection through the breeding process is that less planting material is available in the early phase of variety introduction. Micropropagation techniques will be investigated to overcome this bottleneck to ensure that willow can be upscaled at speed.

Publications and Outputs

Return to Biomass Feedstocks successful projects overview

Latest News