Marion Vissers during the open ground open days at Hazera:

"We tune the breeding programmes to the entire chain"

Hazera and HM. Clause presented their assortment during Internationale Open Dagen (International Open Days) last week. Both companies are part of the Limagrain group. "Limagrain is a French farmers' cooperation, which determines our culture, as the management of Limagrain consists of those who are directly involved," says commercial manager Marion Vissers of Hazera. "Each company has its speciality. Clause, for instance, has a programme in broccoli, field lettuce, sweetcorn and courgette which supplements the Hazera package. There are also products that both are active in, such as cauliflower." 

Full Hazera onion assortment on the demo field

It's important for seed breeders to have feelers in the market. "So much is possible in breeding. It's an art to throw away the right things and keep the good," says Marion. "Besides parameters important to growers such as resistance and yield, shape, colour, sizes, sales channels, moment of processing etc, are increasingly important. We talk to all parties in the chain to find out what is needed and what the trends are. We tune in to breeding programmes to do this."

Marion Vissers with one of Hazera's rock hard onion varieties

Right decision
Because breeding trajectories take a long time, it's very important to make the right decisions. Marion names the crop onions as an example.

"In '92 our management decided to invest in quality and since 2007 we have had commercial varieties available and the market confirms that we made the right choice back then. Our onions are known for their hardness and high dry dust levels, which is really a defining factor in quality. 90% of what is harvested now is stored and exported and this is where quality comes in. Good quality means less loss in the shed for the grower, and they aren't forced to bin or undersell parties due to quality deterioration. Kilos are important but the number of onions taken from the shed determine what you'll make. Sorters, packagers and traders are realising this more and more. Onions go into shipping containers for 6 weeks and then might be on a local market for another 2 weeks, so the quality has to be good until the end."

Hazera has taken over Syngenta's leek programme

During the International Open Days Hazera, Hazera presented the full onion assortment, including the newest introduction such as the early seeding onion Fasto and the early planting onion Contado. Besides earliest, both varieties have a high yield and a long storage.

Pointed red cabbage
Another successful Hazera crop is pointed red cabbage. "The consumption of pointed red cabbage has increased hugely and is pushing white cabbage off of the shelves. The pointed shape is synonymous with flavour. Another advantage is that production companies can supply it all year round with the help of cultivation locations in Spain and Portugal. Pointed cabbage is very versatile and you can do all sorts with it. We have had pointed red cabbage in our assortment for the last three or so years and as of week 46 it will be on the shelves of Albert Heijn." 

In conversation
The introduction of pointed red cabbage is also an example of changing market approach. "We looked for sales opportunities together with the grower. We go to retail with the question of what they are looking for. It's important to remain in conversation and know each other. When they talk about the long term they mean 2-4 years, this is short term for us."

Of course Hazera also gave plenty of attention to the new leek programme. "There is no global scope for leeks. It is an interesting crop for us because we have a strong basis in leek countries, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom." Hazera took over the Syngenta leek programme on July 1 2017, which means Hazera can further strengthen the current assortment and expand it further in the future. We have early varieties available that can harvested from mid July to mid August and a variety with a harvesting window from mid September to mid October. Sprouts are also an interesting crop for Hazera, it is becoming increasingly easy to find to right varieties that produce fine sprouts to that as many as possible can grow on the stalk, up to 120 sprouts.

Tender stem broccoli
Innovations also came from partner HM.Clause. They presented new broccoli varieties and a new calebrini range: 25 gram tender stem broccoli with a fresh bite and a nutty flavour.

Top left, packaged tender stem broccoli next to examples of presentations of radish and chicory

For more information:
Hazera Seeds B.V.
Tel: +31 162 690 900‏
Fax: +31 162 690 970

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