Strawberry Runner Growers
Strawberry breeding is a highly competitive global industry
In the early 20th Century, a new piece of legislation in the United States – Plant Patent Act of 1930 – gave breeders of plants the same rights over their ‘inventions’ as mechanical and chemical inventors had through patent law. Breeding in the USA stepped up in earnest when the Federal Department of Agriculture started to fund breeding programmes through Universities. Many varieties of strawberry are now bred in the US at the University of California and the University of Florida.
Strawberry propagation occurs via runners and not seed
If you’ve grown strawberries before you’ll have noticed that often the plants throw out several long, leafless stalks known as ‘runners’. Established strawberry plants will send out multiple runners over the soil surface. Each runner has a tiny plant at its end and these can be rooted and grown on to produce new plants. This is how large commercial quantities of strawberry plants are produced by highly specialised runner growers.
To propagate varieties for commercial sale in Australia, runner growers are certified to ensure a high standard of plant propagation and that varieties with Plant Breeders’ Rights protection are only grown under the correct licence conditions.