b'GP:Most of the characteristics needed for a mechanical harvest (such as tall and upright plants, uniform maturity, less foliage, field holding capability) are basi-cally targets also related to hand harvest so yes, we are focused on this aspect.ES: WHAT OTHER BREEDING TARGETS DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME ON FOR BROCCOLI IN EUROPE? GP:The main goals, and what we consider as common goals, are earliness, disease resistance, uniform maturity, compactness of the head, colour. One important target is to breed material that has the attitude to adapt and grow in different environments.JP:Features of better broccoli varieties are various. Different requirements are asked for and need to be integrated in new varieties. For example, an important group of features lies in the management of broccoli production. A strong behav-iour at varying environmental conditions and diseases is important to facilitate a good availability of broccoli. Our breed-ers are looking for varieties, which give strong results for the growers, if growing conditions are tough for the plants or not. An example are broccoli varieties, whichPhoto courtesy of Tokitaform a good head under cool-wet or hot-dry conditions. company and no broccoli variety devel- MS:Our Breeding Trial Specialists test MS:Field standing ability and shelf lifeoped from my breeding program is com- our newly developed varieties in target are important broccoli traits. Field stand- mercially available. Some are in the latermarkets around the globe to identify ing ability is the holding of the broccolistages of market trialling and may begood candidates. These candidates are after reaching full maturity. Broccoli willintroduced within the next two years. then included in pre-commercial trials at go to flowering quickly, beads will turngrowers by the marketing department. A brown, and the head is also very sensi- GP:We invest a significant amount oflot of information on desired traits, resist-tive to diseases like bacterial soft rot ormoney and time to improve variety per- ances, and new trends is continuously fed botrytis. So, the grower would like toformance and to improve seed productiv- back to the breeding department.harvest the broccoli as quickly as pos- ity, quantity and quality.sible from the field, but this is often notJP:When breeding broccoli, our breed-possible because of the many fields to beMB:Developing new varieties is costly,ers benefit from their good contacts with harvested in a single week. Our companyestimated in the millions of euros, andgrowers in different countries all over is aiming to have a good field standingtakes time, up to 25 years, depending onthe world. Locally, the breeders are look-ability at least 5 days after harvest. the complexity of inheritance of specificing to exchange with all the players of Broccoli heads can be stored in thetraits. It is very important to have a clearbroccolinurseries, growers, packers, cold room for several weeks, the quality isvision on market developments, focus- shippers, freezing companies, managers preserved at 4-5 degrees Celsius. But theing on becoming a player or trend setterin supermarkets, consumersto select heads can quickly lose quality as soon aswithin a specific market. Fortunately, wethe best adapted new variety for all broc-it goes into the distribution chain, super- are operating our seed programs withcoli lovers. Such a communication and markets and finally the end consumers.a cross-functional team of experiencedexchange are essential for our breeding So, we are also working to improve thebreeders, each having 30+ years of expe- and it cannot be replaced by anything overall quality of the broccoli head, notrience in Brassica breeding. Our ger- else. This follows our slogan of Quality, only at harvest time, but in the periodmplasm is updated, and we have excellentReliability and Service.before consumption. customer relationships. These are critical components in developing a strategy forEditors Note: Do you want to read ES: WHICH KIND OFinnovative products that meet the futuremore about broccoli yield increases, INVESTMENT DOES IT TAKE TOneeds of growers and consumers. diseases resistances, diversity, new DEVELOP A NEW BROCCOLIinnovations and the biggest challenges VARIETY?ES: HOW DOES YOURin broccoli breeding, make sure to MS:It takes at least six years to developCOMPANY MAKE SURE YOURcheck the full article on our website: broccoli varieties. As a reference, I amFUTURE VARIETIES ARE ALIGNEDhttps://european-seed.comnow six years a broccoli breeder in myWITH WHAT GROWERS WANT?26IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'