Advantages for the students

Overcome the initial intimidation. For anyone who has not tried it before, the very thought of plant breeding is somewhat intimidating, in the same way that the first use of a computer, or the first dive into deep water, is intimidating. Once this intimidation is overcome, plant breeding for horizontal resistance turns out to be very easy, and very rewarding. The ambience of a university breeding club is undoubtedly the best way of overcoming this intimidation, but this comment should not discourage other amateurs from starting their own clubs.

Learning to breed for horizontal resistance. The use of computers cannot be learned from manuals, and 'hands-on' experience is essential. The techniques of breeding for horizontal resistance also require 'hands-on' experience and a breeding club is the best means of providing such experience. The students themselves would do all the work of breeding and they would gain practical experience in every aspect of the breeding process.

Improved participation and interest. Many agricultural students, who grew up on a farm, find there is a gap between their own farming experience and the somewhat academic teaching within the university. A breeding club closes this gap very effectively, and it demonstrates the practical utility of scientific concepts. The club also provides students with active participation, and a sense of achievement, as alternatives to passive learning.

Earn course credits. As one of the inducements to join, students should earn course credits from their breeding club membership and participation.

Life-membership. On graduation, students would be given life membership in their club or clubs. This would entitle them to consult the university experts, and to receive, test, report on, and utilise new lines coming out of their club(s) for the rest of their lives. They would also be encouraged to attend their club meetings.

Start new breeding clubs. Having returned to their family farm, or arrived at their new place of work, graduates would be encouraged to start one or more new breeding clubs among farmers and other interested parties. This would lead to a proliferation of breeding activity. Their knowledge of breeding for horizontal resistance, as well as their life memberships in their university club(s) would be valuable assets in these activities.

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