Like the grain farmers in the Western Cape do, the CenGen team also harvests their wheat “crop” at the end of the year. The team recently spent two days at the Sensako research station in Napier where they rent space for their research material. Unlike the farmers, however, there is no quick way to harvest as each of the hundreds of plants is a different line and has to be threshed individually!
After heading, newly emerged ears are covered with glassine crossing bags to prevent cross-pollination and to keep the lines pure. When it is time to harvest, each ear is threshed individually in a single ear threshing machine. The seed of each line gets a unique catalogue number and is stored in an envelope in the freezer until next season’s planting.