For the past six weeks, Rijk Zwaan’s facility in Fijnaart has been hosting the traditional demo days. The open field demo drew to a close last Wednesday, but even on the final day the event continued to be well attended by growers, nursery owners, processors and other business partners from around the world. In addition to international visitors, the 2014 demo days attracted notably more Dutch visitors than in previous years.
“The bad weather meant that it was ‘all hands on deck’ to get the demo field ready in time,” recalls trial field coordinator Arno van Oers. “But we managed it! The visitors were impressed with our new introductions, including in endive, spinach and lettuce.”
The new endive variety, Anconi RZ (11-602), attracted considerable attention. It is an upright type with green leaves, a dark colour and strong resistance against bolting. Another leafy vegetable that particularly appealed to visitors was spinach. “The designation of the new race of downy mildew in spinach (Pfs:15) resulted in lots of interest in our HR varieties,” continues Arno. “During the demo, our crop advisors took the time to share their expertise with customers and advise them on their specific situations.”
“We have lots of new lettuce varieties and introductions every year. This time the special Crunchy cos lettuce type, which is a cross between romaine lettuce and iceberg lettuce, was very popular during the demo. In terms of technical inspiration, visitors to Rijk Zwaan appreciated our N-fertilisation trial with iceberg lettuce. The higher nitrogen concentrations produce a greener colour, a larger size, a higher yield and a better shelf life. So all in all it was a very worthwhile trial!”