Reviewing a trial of field-grown grassesSubject to a successful initial evaluation of your plant, based on the information that you provide in the New Plant Variety Information Form and the photographs that you have, the next stage will be for PFE to arrange plant trials with growers that have an interest in, enthusiasm for and experience with plants of the type that you have developed.

The purpose of the trials will be to assess the potential of the plant in the marketplace, and also to confirm the characteristics of the plant in terms of its performance and ease of propagation and cultivation. These trials will generally be divided into two parts carried out in successive years:

  • an observation trial, when a small quantity will be grown in order to observe the general characteristics of the plant;
  • a production trial, when a larger quantity will be grown in order to verify the ease of propagation, the performance as a commercial crop and the suitability for marketing of your new plant.

In some cases, perhaps when a new colour variant of a plant that is already well known in commerce is developed, there will be no need to conduct an observation trial, and interested parties will proceed directly to a production trial. Production trials are also useful for giving the chance to produce sufficient “mother stock” to allow subsequent large scale commercial propagation.

These trials are important, not only to the growers and potential licensees, but also to you as the owner of the plant. To obtain PVR protection can be costly (at least €2100 for the EU) – it is important to be sure that the plant is likely to be successful in the market and to generate sufficient royalty revenue to ensure that these costs are going to be recouped.

You will not want to give over your entire stock to establish these trials, so the third rule is:

IF YOU CAN, ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE SPECIMEN OF THE PLANT.

Of course, this may not always be easy, particularly where a plant needs specialist propagation facilities such as micropropagation. If you need help with this issue, please contact PFE for advice on how best to proceed. And PFE will want to know about your new variety, even if you just have one specimen at the moment!

Click here to move to the next section (The Plant Evaluation Trial Agreement).