State Stende Cereal Breeding Institute: From the Origins to the Present

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State Stende Cereal Breeding Institute: From the Origins to the Present

Agricultural science is closely linked to circumstances and specific features of development in each region. The State Stende Breeding Station, the first breeding station in independent Latvia, was founded ninety years ago with a goal to raise agricultural production in the country. The Stende Breeding Station was engaged in selection of crop varieties suitable for Latvian conditions, providing farmers with high-quality seeds and knowledge on the cultivation of these varieties. During the years of its existence, the station has witnessed changes in political power, underwent different forms of management and operated under various names. A number of outstanding scientists and agronomists have worked at Stende, including J. Lielmanis, E. Bērziņš, J. Garbars, N. Konrāds, R. Kude, I. Celma, I. Belicka, M. Gruntiņa and others, who have devoted their entire working lives to agricultural science and breeding. In 2006, the agricultural science centre of Stende was transformed into the State Stende Cereal Breeding Institute. Breeding traditions, and cooperation with Latvian farmers, as well as accumulation of knowledge and experience of several generations of scholars is a frame for the existence of the Stende's institute. The most important contribution of Stende's breeders is 65 newly developed varieties of fifteen crop species. Today, the barley variety ‘Abava’, the winter wheat ‘Fredis’ and the spring wheat ‘Uffo’ are well known, not only in Latvia, but also abroad. The achievements of Stende's scientists have gained great appreciation from practicing farmers and agricultural policy makers.

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