Plant growing trials

A plant growing trial demonstrates that a plant variety is distinct, uniform and stable. You'll need to complete a growing trial as part of your plant breeder's right (PBR) application.  

What is a growing trial?

A growing trial is conducted to prove that your plant is distinct, uniform and stable, so that it can qualify for PBR.

The trial shows us what happens when you grow your variety alongside existing varieties that are most similar to yours. You can set this up and complete it with the assistance of your Qualified Person (QP). Your QP collects data from the trial at different growth stages.

You'll need to conduct the trial after you've submitted part 1 of your application.

How long does it take?

If your plant is fast-growing, the trial will be done within a relatively short period, but if the variety takes many years to fruit, the trial could take up to a decade.

Who runs the growing trial?

You can do the trial yourself, or pay to have it done at a centralised test centre (CTC) that specialises in your plant genus. This can be beneficial if you're making multiple PBR applications, as:

  • Centres have established facilities and procedures to ensure a top quality trial
  • CTC examination fees are significantly lower.

An updated list of CTCs is published in the Plant Varieties Journal  every quarter.

Plant Varieties Journal

Who sets the rules for the growing trial?

The parameters of the trial will be agreed between us and your QP. This ensures the results are robust. If the trial isn't held to our standards, this could lead to:

  • The need for a second trial  leading to additional time and cost
  • Leaving your PBR open to challenge
  • Refusal to grant your application.

Your QP will propose a growing trial and our field examiner will review their suggestion as part of the pre-trial agreement. Together, we'll agree on key issues, including:

  • The trial date
  • Location
  • Trial set-up
  • Other varieties to be grown.

Note that in cases where the variety is an Australian native, the Australian Cultivar Registration Authority (ACRA) will have preferred varieties for you to compare with.

In a trial for the first variety of a species to be named, you'll need to compare the new variety with the parent population.

What if we can't agree on what should be grown?

If agreement can't be reached between us and your QP, you should raise the issues with the Chief of PBR at our agency.

Is a growing trial always necessary?

A trial in Australia may not be necessary if both:

  • The variety has been test-grown in a country that meets our requirements and the test report includes comparative data
  • All similar varieties of common knowledge have been included in the trial.

In the case of seed propagated varieties, the stability test must include two generations of the candidate variety in the same trial  two separate cycles of propagation.

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

What happens once the growing trial is complete?

Once the trial is over and all necessary data has been gathered, your QP will write up a detailed description of your new variety. The description focuses on the distinctiveness, uniformity and stability that's been demonstrated.

You'll need to include this description in part 2 of your application.

Once we accept the description, we'll publish it in the Plant Varieties Journal. This begins the six-month public notification period that allows others to raise objections or comments about possible issues with an application.