German Plant Breeding Conference

The German Plant Breeding Conference ( was held 19th to 21st March 2024 at the University of Geisenheim. Geisenheim sits on the banks of the Rhein in Hessen, Germany and is also known as Weinstadt or ‘Wine Town’.

Paul Shaw (IBH and ICS)

I was invited along to the event by the Crop Trust to highlight the work we have been doing on making data from pre-breeding and diversity projects available to the community using bioinformatics tools and capabilities developed here at Hutton.

The event brought together 278 participants with a further 41 joining remotely from around the world and was held at Geisenheim University, a small university with only 1800 students.

The conference was organised by Kai Vos-Fels – Professor of grape vine breeding who some of us may know here in Invergowrie through his visit a few years ago. Talks ranged from alfalfa to beech tree breeding and everything else in between (including barley!). It also had a focus on newly qualified researchers, giving them the opportunity to present work at a major international event. In fact, around 70% of the talks were given to those who fell into that category.

Alan Humpries from SARDI in Australia talks the audience through his team’s use of GridScore (developed here at Hutton through BOLD and RESAS BARGAIN projects) for scoring alfalfa in harsh environments in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
One of the BOLD team looking at the poster that we took to the conference. The poster covered the work we have been doing using Germinate, Helium and GridScore (all developed at Hutton) on grasspea (Lathyrus) and rice in India and Vietnam.

We had the chance to present a poster on the work that we are doing here in Invergowrie on software development and bioinformatics, and it was a great opportunity to meet both old friends and new – and still some who I have only ever met over Zoom and WebEx!

Paul Shaw
The BOLD WP2 “Making Diversity Available” team at the conference. Hutton leads the data sciences project within the work package. We also had external reviewers from Embrapa in Brazil and the University of Bonn with us as well as some PhD and MSc students associated with the project.
The University of Geisenheim does a lot of viticulture work. The area is particularly famous for the production of Reisling wines. If you look in this photo you will see two rings of green capped CO2 release valves used for the management and research of increased CO2 levels mimicking future climate levels to study the effect on grape production. Apparently very expensive to buy and run!
The famous Drosselgasse street in Rudesheim am Rhein.
And of course, a few talks on barley around Europe!

GridScore and Germinate have received funding through the RESAS IBH aligned BARGAIN project here in Invergowrie as well as through the Crop Trust/Norwegian Governments BOLD project and various Horizon Europe projects and it’s great to see the software being promoted at these international conferences. While originally developed for our barley and potato needs here at Hutton, GridScore is now used to collect plant pre-breeding data on a wide diversity of crops that are critical in feeding parts of the developing world.

The German Plant Breeders Conference is held every two years.