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Value of Production Orchards Based on Two Cycles of Breeding and Testing

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As breeding cycles become increasingly shorter, it may not be profitable to install a production seed orchard at the completion of each cycle. Using a case study approach, we compare two mutually exclusive orchard strategies: skipping a third-generation seed orchard (while upgrading an existing second-generation orchard) versus establishing a third-generation orchard. Using net present value as a decision-making criterion, skipping a third-generation loblolly pine orchard is the better strategy when (a) genetic gain in height from third-generation parents is less than or equal to 7% over first generation parents, (b) annual demand for seedlings is less than 4000 ac annually, and (c) harvest in a third-generation orchard begins at least 11 years before it becomes obsolete. Foregoing a third-generation orchard saves establishment capital but carries a stringent commitment to accelerated breeding and testing. Acceptance of the risk associated with genetic gain projection is critical to the third-generation orchard decision. For. Sci. 36(1):156-168.

Keywords: Breeding-testing-selection cycle; Pinus taeda L; genetic improvement; seed orchard strategy; third-generation orchard

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Project Leader, Forest Economics, USDA-Forest Service, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

Publication date: March 1, 1990

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