In this practice guideline
Arrangements for growing trials for the testing of distinctness, uniformity and stability
The Plant Variety Rights Act 1987 Section 10 (d) requires that a variety is eligible for a grant of Rights if that variety is sufficiently distinct, uniform and stable (DUS). In all instances the determination of DUS is carried out in a growing trial which includes plants of the candidate variety and plants of any other varieties as necessary. The plants in the growing trial also provide all the data and recordings for the drafting of the official variety description for the variety under application. The requirement for a growing trial is supported by Plant Variety Rights Regulations 1988 Part 3.
The organisation of, arrangement and type of growing trial will vary for different plant species and different procedures will apply. The following five DUS testing arrangements are used:
1. Central testing
The Plant Variety Rights Office (PVRO) has direct responsibility for the growing trial and the evaluation of varieties. The PVRO has discretion to organise others to carry out certain trial and testing functions, but retains oversight and management control. PVRO will charge the variety owner or agent the prescribed trial fees. The agent or owner supplies the requested seed or vegetative plant material and then waits for the results of testing. For species that are tested for more than one growing season, an interim report is provided at the end of the first season.
Species included: barley, oats, wheat, forage brassicas, ryegrass, clover, peas, potatoes, garden roses, Zantedeschia, Phormium and some other ornamentals
2. Testing by research or industry organisation
PVRO has arrangements with research or industry organisations that carry out testing at specified test centres on behalf of PVRO. Following agreement with PVRO that the test centre will be used, the organisation is notified of the application and PVRO will set the deadline for supply of plant material to the test centre. All costs associated with using the test centre are a matter between the organisation and the owner or agent and arrangements can be initiated before an application for PVR is made. Staff of the organisation will carry out all evaluation work and the results supplied to PVRO for a decision. The overall testing protocol and all technical criteria are the responsibility of PVRO. PVRO will charge the owner or agent the prescribed examination fee at the conclusion of testing. The period of evaluation will be at least one growing period.
Species include: apple, pear, peach , plum, cherry, apricot, avocado
3. Testing on a property organised by the agent or owner
PVRO will supply the requirements for the growing trial and the owner, agent or another party must then establish and maintain the growing trial on a site selected by the applicant and approved by PVRO. All elements of the trial are expected to comply with the trial requirements originally supplied after application. The site organiser has the responsibility to notify PVRO when specified growth stages occur on the trial plants and PVRO staff or persons acting on behalf of PVRO will carry out the variety evaluation and assessments. For more detail refer to Guidelines for plant variety rights (PVR) growing trials on an applicant's property.
PVRO will set a reasonable deadline for the establishment of the growing trial or the receipt of notification that suitable plants are available for testing. It should be noted that the missing of a deadline may result in the lapse of the application under Section 7 (3) of the PVR Act 1987. At the beginning of the evaluation period the applicant will be charged the prescribed trial fee. The period of evaluation will be at least one growing period.
Species: most ornamentals and some fruit
4. Breeder testing
This arrangement is an extension of testing on a property organised by the agent or owner where the applicant has responsibility for the establishment, growing and maintenance of the trial following receipt of trial directions from PVRO. The extension includes the additional applicant responsibility for the trial data collection and variety evaluation which can be carried out by the applicant themselves or another party organised and managed by the applicant.
The applicant is provided by PVRO with a list of varieties required in the trial and all requirements with respect to how and when the evaluation is to be carried out. It is expected that all requirements are met and any instructions followed by the applicant. Should the applicant be unable to meet any requirements or has questions regarding the information supplied, the applicant should contact PVRO in a timely manner. PVRO will set a reasonable deadline for the provision of trial data and variety recordings to PVRO. It should be noted that the missing of a deadline may result in the lapse of the application under Section 7 (3) of the PVR Act 1987.
PVRO will charge the owner or agent the prescribed examination fee at the conclusion of testing and on receipt of the final trial report. The period of evaluation will be at least one growing period.
Species: vegetables and minor agricultural crops
5. Foreign test report
Under certain circumstances it may be possible to take over the testing results carried out by another PVR authority. The foreign test report will form the basis of the NZ decision. Further information is available at Use of foreign test reports for DUS testing in New Zealand.