PLANT breeding company Seminis officially opened its $2 million onion breeding facility in Pukekohe, New Zealand, last month.
The Seminis Onion Breeding Station was is a world‐class facility housing state‐of‐the‐art sheds, crop covers and irrigation systems.
It represents the Seminis global mid‐day onion breeding program, supporting key markets including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Brazil.
Monsanto Vegetable Seeds global breeding director for large seed/root and bulb/brassica crops, Dr Yossi Shapiro, cut the ribbon as part of the Seminis Onion Innovation Day.
Visiting from the United States, Dr Shapiro said it was an honour to officially open the station.
“The Pukekohe station is already yielding significant results for Seminis onion growers in New Zealand, Australia and further abroad,” Dr Shapiro said.
“It adds an important dimension to Seminis’ global onion breeding network, both in terms of knowledge transfer and genetics.
“Our investment in the new station demonstrates Seminis’ long‐term commitment to Australian and New Zealand onion growers and to developing onion varieties that meet their needs and suit local conditions.”
More than 40 growers from Australia and New Zealand attended the innovation day, along with key members of the global Seminis onion breeding team who travelled to New Zealand from the USA, Brazil and South Africa.
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The Innovation Day gave growers the opportunity to see new Seminis hybrids and hear from the experts on where breeding efforts will be focussed in future.
Growers in attendance appeared impressed by Seminis’ investment at the station, with many commenting on the quality of facilities on‐site and the pipeline of new hybrids Seminis is developing, with root disease resistance and storability improvements receiving thumbs up.
Several Australian growers travelled to New Zealand for the event.
They said they were impressed by the wide planting window of SVNH1752 and excited to see dark colour in late time slot onion SVNH8265, which will be trialed for another year.
Good results have been seen for the Tasmanian market from early to late, with several hybrids – Currawong, Ranguru, Shrike, Korimako and Cassowarie performing well.
In addition to exploring new varieties, attendees were treated to presentations from Dan Bloomer on precision agriculture and horticulture as well as a field mapping drone demonstration by Will Bignell.
Australian growers also visited leading onion grading and packing facilities in the Pukekohe region.