Last updated: 
31 May 2016

In most cases, you need to conduct a growing trial after you submit your Application part 1, and get provisional protection for your new plant variety. You and your qualified person (QP) are responsible for all aspects of the comparative growing trial.

The results of the trial are used to determine whether your new variety is distinct, uniform and stable, and qualifies for plant breeder’s rights.

You can do the trial yourself, or have it done at a Centralised Test Centre (CTC).


You choose which varieties to compare in the trial, but you must include the varieties of common knowledge which are most similar to your new variety.

In a trial for the first variety of a species to be named, you need to compare the new variety with one or more well-known existing forms of the same species which have similar characteristics to the new variety.

Number of plants

The number of plants of each variety that you need to include in the trial depends on the propagation method. The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) has technical guidelines for each species.

The guidelines tell you how many plants to include and may also recommend the number of replications you need.

Species without a UPOV guideline

If there is no UPOV technical guideline for the species you will need to consult the plant breeder’s rights office to determine the most appropriate number of plants for your situation.

Pre-examination trial agreement

Once the PBR application is accepted, we will send a pre-examination trial agreement to the QP who will manage the variety in the field trial. This agreement establishes a single point of contact with the PBR Office. In this agreement, QPs will be requested to provide comprehensive information on how they propose to conduct the trial. The PBR field examiner will review the information and agreement will be reached between the QP and the nominated examiner around key issues such as the trial date, location, trial set-up, and agreed comparators. QPs/applicants can raise concerns with the Chief of PBR if agreement can’t be reached.”

Not doing a growing trial

A comparative trial in Australia may not be necessary if both:

  • the variety has been test-grown in a UPOV member country using UPOV test guidelines and test procedures and
  • all similar varieties of common knowledge have been included in the trial.

We still require applicants to submit a detailed description of the variety for publication in the Plant Varieties Journal.

Plant Varieties Journal.


Centralised Test Centre benefits

Using a CTC means you can test a larger number of candidate varieties (with a larger number of comparators) in a single, comprehensive trial. This saves costs and increases scientific rigour.

When one or more candidate varieties are tested, each will qualify for the CTC examination fee, which is nearly 40 per cent less than the normal fee.


Becoming a Centralised Test Centre

Establishments wishing to be authorised as a CTC may apply in writing to us, outlining their claims against the selection criteria below. There is no cost for authorisation as a centralised test centre.

Initially, only one CTC is authorised for each genus. Exemptions to this rule can be made due to special circumstances, industry needs and quarantine regulations. Authorisations are reviewed periodically.

Selection criteria to become an authorised Centralised Test Centre

To be authorised as a CTC, the following conditions and criteria need to be met:

Appropriate facilities - All establishments must have facilities that allow the conduct and completion of moderate to large-scale scientific experiments without undue environmental influences. A range of complementary testing and propagation facilities is desirable, such as outdoor, glasshouse, shadehouse, and tissue culture stations.

Experienced staff - Adequately trained staff and access to appropriately accredited qualified persons, with a history of successful PBR applications, will need to be available for all stages of the trial from planting to the presentation of the analysed data.

Substantial industry support - The establishment will be recognised by a state or national industry society or association, or have a written commitment to use the facility from major nurseries or other applicants with a history of regularly making applications for PBR in Australia.

Capability for long-term storage of genetic material - Depending upon the genus, a CTC must be in a position to make a long-term commitment to collect and maintain, at minimal cost, genetic resources of vegetatively propagated species as a source of comparative varieties.

Contract testing for third parties - Unless exempted in writing by us, operators of a CTC must be prepared to test varieties submitted by third parties.

One trial at a time - Unless exempted in writing by us, all candidates and comparators should be tested in a single trial.

More information