From last year, farmers have many varieties of leeks to pick from. The vegetable breeding firm Rijk Zwaan is aiming to take a leading role in this crucial crop after a long time of research and development.
It’s released four powerful new varieties that will pave the way for an entire range of hybrid varieties which will help growers of leek in tackling the issues of the present. Three key Rijk Zwaan employees discuss the necessity of working together, their determination to assist customers’ development, and their goals of the company.
Dependable partner for leek growers
Bert Crins (Breeder), Filip Hermans (Crop Coordinator) and Rik Van Laere (Crop Manager) All played an important part in the launch of new varieties of leeks.
Van Laere explains why Rijk Zwaan’s choice to invest in the creation of varieties of leek was the right one “As one of the top company for vegetable breeding We believe this vital European product should be part of our product range. We aim to become an honest partner to the growers of leek and provide an expansive and diverse range of products to help support their growth in the coming years.”
Collaboration is speed.
According to Crins that the success of the project is due to the successful cooperation among Rijk Zwaan’s Rijk Zwaan team and the farmers: “We breathed new life into our program to breed leeks 10 years back. The first step was to identify demands of the market, which set us up with a specific target to pursue. Then, we gradually increased our genetics , and worked towards the final goal. Through the course of the past two years, we’ve seen impressive progress because of the comparatively short communication channels and the continuous feedback loop that connects Breeding, Product Development and the market. The growers of all the major European market for leeks conducted trials of high-potential varieties. They also provided us with their findings. We were able to implement any changes that were needed swiftly.”
Hermans says: “We should be proud of our speed since it’s quite unique. That meant we were able to present the initial four models of our product line at the same time. They vary in their earliness as well as shaft length however they’re all in tune with market demands.”
Leeks growers face challenges with HTML0
“Leek cultivators are seeking labor-friendly crops, not just since labour is large proportions of their expenses as well as because workers are becoming scarce. The reliability of harvests is another factor. Because of ever tighter regulations regarding the use of crop protection chemicals, resistant varieties are getting more crucial in fighting against diseases and pests. The focus of our efforts is to develop varieties that are resistant to problems like thrips, leek and rust. Thirdly, we face the issue of changing climate. The effects of drought and heat could be a major threat to the leeks’ crop because of the extended season. This is the reason we work to design strong varieties. In addition, a leek crop must possess excellent agronomic traits to ensure an abundant yield.” states Hermans.
The finest four-leek variety
Four new varieties are able to meet the requirements of all. They were clearly a result of the lengthy selection process as they are the most potent varieties. Crins says: “Floccus RZ, Nebulus RZ, Volutus RZ and Radiatus RZ were chosen as the most effective, which was the trials of growers.”
Hermans describes the most important qualities: “Floccus is for the early cycles. It’s speedy and has great resistance to bolting and cracks. Nebulus continues on the same lines as Nebulus. It’s an uniform, easy-to-work and versatile selection. Volutus is for the late-autumn/early-winter segment. It is short, uniform and perfectly upright, with blue leaves. Not to mention, Radiatus is a type of prepack similar to Volutus is straight and has blue leaves. It also can withstand the thrips.”
paving the way to the development of a comprehensive portfolio
The company has more leeks varieties on the way. Hermans: “In the autumn of 2022, we picked a number of fresh varieties to add to our selection in other areas. When these new varieties are commercially available and available for sale, they will be advertised on the sites for the distinct regions where they are produced. We’ll continue working closely with our growers in order to improve the way they are cultivating our selections in the field. Naturally, the future generation of cultivars will be focused on ensuring that harvests are reliable productivity, efficiency in labour and resistances. We’ll be able to remain current in each market segment.”
To test the variety for the first time, growers of leeks can go to the demonstrations in open fields across several European nations. There is also the option to try the various variety. The growers need to contact them with their nearest Rijk Zwaan agent.
More information is available here:
Source: The Plantations International Agroforestry Group of Companies