Philips’ horticultural lighting brand Signify and Dutch vegetable seed company Bejo Zaden have formed a partnership to accelerate the breeding of new varieties.
With new varieties typically taking between 10 and 15 years to develop, Jan Kempen, Crop Specialist at Bejo Zaden, explains: “We need to speed up the breeding process to meet the high market demand from growers for new seed varieties that are more resistant. Our objective is to increase the choice of resistant varieties, but it is a complex and time-consuming process to make seed varieties more resistant.”
One way to speed up the process is to increase the number of generations produced each year. After trials in small climate-controlled rooms, set up by long-term horticulture partner Lek Habo, Bejo Zaden approached Signify in 2017 to help them implement a larger climate-controlled room. Signify’s plant specialists helped the company develop a custom-made growing process in the right environment and created special light recipes to meet the company’s requirements.
“We’ve actually doubled the number of growing hours per day. Normally our crops only flower once a year, but now with this dynamic LED lighting solution, our crops flower multiple times a year,” explained Jan. “Thanks to our dedicated light recipes from Signify, we can steer the light spectrum and intensity for each individual crop and growth phase. We’re able to force flowering or prevent plants from bolting. For asparagus, we are now getting stronger, more vigorous tissue culture plants.”
Picture caption: Jan Kempen of Bejo Zaden
Photo source: Philips / Signify