Editor’s Letter: Breeding the best By Heather Machovina

Humans have been breeding plants for thousands of years, dating back to the start of agriculture. In the mid-1800s, the necessary framework for scientific plant breeding was determined by Gregor Mendel, and in the early 20th century, we began applying this knowledge of genetics toward the improvement of plants. We have come so far since then, with breeders today using advanced technologies to provide our industry with huge improvements in many types of plants. Breeding for heat and drought tolerance has made a great difference as environmental conditions continue to change. Developing varieties that grow well consistently and provide reliable results in production make the success of growers easier to maintain. Check out more about the work some of our top plant breeders are doing here.


The countdown is on! In just a few days, I will be attending California Spring Trials, soaking in all the best genetics the breeders have to offer for the 2024 season. Get ready for the event by checking out some sneak peeks of what’s in store. And don’t worry if you can’t make it out to California this year to see it all in person — be sure to sign up for our newsletters at gpnmag.com/signup for daily emails from CAST and follow us on social media. We’ll share all the fun; it’ll feel like you’re there with us.


We have a special section for you this month all about hemp production. As the hemp industry continues to evolve, growers are working through the challenges that come along with producing a different crop. It’s important to start out with quality genetics, whether it’s from clones or seed, and trial different cultivars at your facility to determine the best for your success. Further, determining what pest and disease problems you could find yourself dealing with and looking for the right methods to prevent them is key in any crop production. Check out the 2023 Guide to Hemp Production here.

For an enhanced reading experience, view this article in our digital edition by clicking here.