The Seminis Brassica Innovation days will take place on 13th and 14th October at Kirton Holme near Boston, Lincolnshire.
Building on the success of recent years, the 2021 open days will showcase the current portfolio of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage varieties alongside material that Seminis plans to introduce for the 2022 season. Alongside these will be examples of future material so visitors can see the breeding advances that will be available for commercial use in the coming years.
For the third year running, the event will also host the Bayer crop protection team meaning visitors will be able to see the latest brassica varieties as well as present and future fungicide and insecticide innovations on the same site.
“Crop protection is an essential part of meeting customer standards and in support of this we will be showcasing the performance of our current fungicides Rudis (prothioconazole) and Nativo (trifloxystrobin + tebuconazole). In addition, we have a pipeline SDHI fungicide product included that is showing great promise and for which we hope to gain authorisation for in 2023,” explains Claire Matthewman, Bayer campaign manager for horticulture.
“We also have separate insecticide plots comprising Movento (spirotetramat) and the bioinsecticide FLiPPER (fatty acids C7-C14),” adds Mrs Matthewman.
FLiPPER represents a new generation of insecticide that delivers good control of insect pests whilst being selective to beneficial species. Making the most of its potential, however, involves positioning it for best effect in a programme and ensuring it is applied appropriately. The Bayer crop protection team will be on hand to offer application advice to enable growers to make the most of its potential,” says Mrs Matthewman.
Improving the ease at which broccoli and cauliflower plants can be harvested has long been a breeding focus of Seminis and the latest material will continue to reflect the advances made in recent years.
“We have a great range of crops to show visitors; from existing commercial varieties to pre-commercial ones that we plan to introduce for next season as well as pipeline material across a range of end-use specifications,” says Sharon MacGregor, Seminis open field UK and Nordics sales manager.
“Be it harvest gangs walking a field or a machine doing the job, the crop needs to have more uniform maturity and be easier to cut. We have succeeded in developing varieties of broccoli and cauliflower that sit higher above ground which makes them easier to see and harvest and the next generation of varieties sit a little higher too. We have also applied this focus to cabbage with the intention of developing types that improve harvest efficiency,” adds Mrs MacGregor.
“In broccoli, we have a new variety, Spinnaker, which is higher-yielding and easier to harvest with better disease tolerance than Ironman.”
Another breeding focus that is delivering varieties with strong commercial appeal is an effort to reduce susceptibility to systemic mildew. While Seminis is not claiming resistance per se, its decision to select for those characteristics that reduce mildew susceptibility has yielded positive results.
“Nothing goes through to commercial production that shows any susceptibility. It’s a disease where breeding has a positive role to play in improving marketable yields and we took the opportunity it presented to distinguish our varieties from those of other breeders,” says Mrs MacGregor.
In cauliflower, the range includes the Curdivex portfolio of varieties. These types, which feature a white curd with less curd cover, retain their white colour for longer, giving better quality. Future developments in this range will include varieties better suited to processors. These include varieties with higher yield potential whilst having smaller florets for prepared and frozen foods.
“Most growers will be familiar with Whitex and Britex and we are planning to complement these with new varieties which extend the season beyond that offered by the two varieties we have currently. These new types will be in plots for growers to see,” says Mrs MacGregor.
In broccoli a new focus has been developing varieties with heavier heads better suited to the summer heat.
“Crown rot and systemic mildew are problem diseases in broccoli and while selecting for types demonstrating reduced susceptibility to these [diseases] we have also focussed on developing summer varieties with good head weight,” says Mrs MacGregor.
Visitors are urged to register in advance to inform catering requirements, support Covid tracing and lessen the admin burden involved for those wishing to claim BASIS or NRoSO points.
Visit https://bit.ly/3iHvaMa to register.