Research and Variety Development are the backbone of Pure Line Seeds, where every year we invest a large share of our total operating budget developing and introducing enhanced varieties, but only those which clearly demonstrate a distinctly significant advantage over existing ones. Our research efforts are directed by VP of Research Richard Lowe, a world class plant breeder. We operate a large irrigated research facility in the heart of the Columbia Basin in Warden, Washington, USA, where hundreds of varieties of peas and beans are grown annually for evaluation, with only a special few being selected for advancement. After several years of evaluating on the research farm, an extensive trialing stage begins, which often takes several more years. These trials are conducted not only by us, but also by universities, government agencies, food processors, and fresh market distributors, in different regions within the US in order to determine how each variety performs in that regional microclimate with local farming practices and environment. Trial data is then collected with reference to plant structure, pod quality, color, sieve size, disease resistance, heat tolerance, cold tolerance, days to maturity and yield. Once we are satisfied with the US performance, the seed is sent to our production growers for expansion to commercially saleable quantities and also sent abroad to begin the trialing and production process with our partners there.
We have created a network of alliances with independent plant breeders, universities, researchers, geneticists and other seed companies in the US and abroad in order to keep innovative thinking, versatility, and cutting edge technology in our research and breeding program. These alliances have helped us develop an abundance of germplasm from around the globe as well as produce varieties for local climates and specific worldwide customer needs.
Maintenance of seed stock that is true to type is essential in order to prevent off-types and genetic drift. The causes of these variations can be naturally introduced at the variety development stage, introduced by physical mixtures at the planting, harvest and milling stage, or by wildlife, to name a few. Pure Line Seeds’ comprehensive maintenance program involves multilevel checkpoints to assure varietal purity. Good seedsmanship demands periodically returning to the breeder’s seed stock and producing progeny rows. These rows are carefully inspected for conformity exactly to the original variety characteristics. This stage is the only stage that roguing to eliminate off-types is effective and efficient. The seed harvested from these rows is then increased and offered as clean seed stock.
We continually attempt to identify the other sources of cross contamination and eliminate them when possible. Exhaustive cleaning procedures are in place for all our field, milling, and trucking equipment. These procedures require a complete dismantle, cleaning, inspection and reassembly between every variety.
Our growers and trained staff of equipment operators know that a single seed of an off-type is one too many and will contaminate the desired seed stock, and they are extremely diligent in their efforts to make sure they find the one.