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16 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM genes. The most important diseases to us are downy mildew Phomopsis Alternaria and the parasitic plant Orobanche. RL The seed industry is in agreement in Europe the most important is to win the race against broomrape. Limagrain launched its absolutely original technology called SUNEO. Thanks to this innovation the very first hybrids including strongest broomrape resistance together with herbicide tolerance are reaching European farmers. This new solution is bringing durability in the resistance. ES What role does geography play in disease BD In Europe we have many diseases but few of them are significant. The main ones are stem canker downy mildew white mould charcoal rot Verticillium wilt and finally broomrape. Meanwhile in India for example you do not have any of those but you have viruses powdery mildew and Alternaria leaf blight. If you look toward South Africa you have issues with white rust. In the United States among others black rust can also be very important. If you want to be a global leader in breeding you must consider all of them and breed for tolerance or resistance. Some genetics work differently on the same disease in different geographic regions making breeding even more complex. Some European hybrids work well in India but without resistance to viruses and powdery mildew and tolerance to Alternaria leaf blight it is useless to have them there. RL Sunflower finds its origins in the American continent. The biggest challenge for breeding is to find newer and newer sources of resistance or tolerance while in the region of origin the species wasnt exposed to these pests and diseases. Therefor it is not evident to find resistance or tolerance mechanisms e.g. for broomrape. PLANT OIL MARKETS ES Of all crops palm oil is dominant in the oil market today because of its high productivity per hectare. There is no field crop that can com- pete with palm productivity. However as several large markets such as the United States are moving away from palm oil this opens up opportunities for other oil crops. In addition the production increase of oil crops has been largest in the United States Brazil and Argentina mainly due to soybean. Do you foresee plant oil markets changing in the near future CJ Looking at field crops on a global level soybean is still the most important crop however due to the ban on GM soybean cultivation in the EU it is sunflower and oilseed rape that are increasing in numbers in Europe. Sunflower is currently the main oil crop in both western and Eastern Europe. In Russia and Ukraine together there are already around 12 million hectares which is 60 per cent of the total world acre- age with second position for oilseed rape. RL The production areas of oil crops are quite stable in Europe with a small expected decrease for winter oilseed rape and a small expected increase for sunflower. This is in connection with the positive trend of high oleic sunflower oil which is in increasing demand by the fried foods industry. It should be noted that todays oil market is huge and seg- mented. The oil sector remains very demanding. We should not forget the socio-political environment also plays a big role and seed companies has no means of influencing that. For example Latin America is produc- ing for export and with the new president in Argentina we can expect changing the trend of the sunflower surface and after so many years of decreasing see some increase. BD Every oil crop has its own place in the market today including sunflower of course. I see many opportunities for sunflower especially in the development of the high oleic sunflower oil segment. In addition we should not forget that sunflower meal is also a very important part of the sunflower crushing industry. We also see more and more sunflower lecithin used for chocolate. Consumption of oil is very locally oriented depending on where a particular crop dominates for example palm oil in Asia soybean oil in the United States and Latin America canola oil in Canada Germany and Poland and sunflower oil in eastern and central Europe. This relates to the traditional usage of a particular oil. Many consumers in Russia for example love to consume cold pressed sunflower oil with the strong aroma of the sunflower kernel. Meanwhile in other parts of the world such oil will not find a place in the market. Also it is a tendency of the oil industry to produce oil mostly for its original usage for example deep frying oil salad oil et cetera. ES Is it challenging for sunflower to compete with other oil crops espe- cially soybean in Latin America BD One of the main reasons why soybeans increased so much in that part of the world was the introduction of GM varieties which gave a clear advantage to soybean over sunflower. It is different in Europe. Being a relatively small crop compared to corn or wheat for example development of herbicides for sunflower was below the needs of the crop. Hence sunflower started to lose competitiveness in the market but it remains a major player in dry areas. After development of herbicide tolerant technology sunflower again became competitive to other crops. Technology such as Clearfield allowed farmers to have a good post-emergent herbicide with double effect control of major weeds and broomrape control which is problem No. 1 in many European countries such as Spain Turkey Romania Russia Ukraine and Bulgaria. It really brings back sunflowers competitiveness to other spring crops. AN IMPORTANT DISCOVERY ES It has been 40 years since the discovery of the high oleic trait. Whats the importance of that finding BD Discovery of the high oleic trait placed sunflower oil in the category of healthy oil differentiating this crop from other oil crops. There is not one field crop today that has a similar content of oleic acid to match high oleic sunflower which usually ranges from 84 to 90 per cent. Practically all of the United States market is the mid-oleic and high oleic market while more than 60 per cent of the French sunflow- er-growing area is planted with high oleic sunflower. Demand for high oleic sunflower increases year by year especially for export-oriented countries like Ukraine. HC The cooking and health advantages of sunflower oil certainly give rise to opportunities for the crop to increase in status and surface in eastern Europe Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries where water supply is limited. Limagrain Suneo variety. PhotocourtesyLimagrain