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14 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM Always Look on the Bright Side The sunflower is recognised worldwide for its beauty however it is also an important source of food. Sunflower oil is a valued healthy vegetable oil and sunflower seeds are enjoyed as a nutritious ingredient in many foods as well as a tasty snack. As sunflower is an important agricultural crop choice for many producers around the globe European Seed is taking a closer look at breeding new sunflower varieties with Syngentas Branislav Dozet Limagrains Richard Legrand Strube Researchs Constantin Jansen and May Seeds Hamdi iftiler. BREEDING TARGETS European Seed As in many other crops the main breeding targets for sunflower in Europe are still yield and disease resistance however there now appears to be a more diverse picture than in the past. Branislav Dozet Although yield remains the main target segmentation of the sunflower market in the past few years has changed breeding targets. Introduction of high oleic and herbicide tolerant traits make breeding much more complex than before. Today we have five main targets yield and yield stability disease resistance oil quality drought and heat stress and herbicide tolerance. Overall across all segments grain and oil yield remain the priority tar- gets. High-yielding products still drive any new technology introduced in sunflower breeding. Constantin Jansen The first priority of Strube is seed yield but for that you need to have a good trait package against some diseasessuch as broomrape downy mildew Phomopsis Sclerotiniaand herbicide tolerant traits in addition to better oil content and high oleic varieties. Hamdi iftiler Harvestable yield is always the No. 1 target for a breed- ing program. However recent changes by the oilseed industry have led us to pursue the goal of high oil yield per hectare. After yield disease and pest resistance and herbicide tolerance are always high on our research priorities. In Turkey the parasitic plant Orobanche is a key pest. We have an aggressive breeding program for resistance to broomrape which is also a very big problem for the worlds most important sunflower-grow- ing countries such as Russia Ukraine Romania Bulgaria and Spain. Sunflower breeding experts share what is important in creating new varieties for the marketplace. By Marcel Bruins Hamdi iftiler is May Seed Turkeys vice-president Branislav Dozet is Syngentas head of Sunflower Breeding Constantin Jansen is Strube Researchs head of Product Line Sunflower Richard Legrand is Limagrains European Oilseeds Crops Markets manager