In 2018, Australian cucumber growers faced a challenging winter, dealing with extended cold periods, often with ice coating their greenhouses and losses of up to 40% of their crops due to cold strike (fruit scurfing). "Now they are planting summer crops and, with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology placing an 80% likelihood on hotter than average conditions (day and night) for November to January, heat stress is a major concern", the team with the Australian-based Abundant Seeds explains. "Plants subjected to extended periods of high temperatures, particularly when the thermometer doesn’t give them a break overnight, become more susceptible to pest and disease outbreaks, and can react by aborting their fruit. Grower yields plummet and, at worst, crops fail completely."
The team with Abundant Seeds explains how they are helping an expanding cadre of growers facing the change of season with new confidence. "The new planting is their secret weapon. We get feedback from growers who planted our varieties. They have reported greater cold and heat tolerance, more vigorous growth and fruit production, a longer picking cycle, and fruit with improved colour, shape and uniformity. This encourages them to choose our varieties again, and extend to their complete acreage: the Abundant's plants are more suited to the growing environment and therefore are more healthy."
Abundant Seeds teamed up with Sydney University’s Plant Breeding Institute (PBI) in 2011, and since then, plant scientists have been breeding cucumbers suited to Australian conditions and low tech (unheated, uncooled) greenhouses. "This is in stark contrast with internationally sourced horticultural seeds bred in high tech, climate-controlled greenhouses in Europe or the United States", Sarah Pearson, Abundant’s Sales and Operations Manager, explains.
"Our absolute focus is to provide better options and better results for growers, and in turn superior fruit for consumers,” she continues. "We have developed and produced high quality varieties, here in Australia perfect for growing in Australian conditions. We, and Australian growers, are enormously fortunate to have this collaboration with the University of Sydney PBI. Their scientists are able to breed plants that offer substantial advantages to growers without the need for major changes in crop management. For our first winter and spring season trials to be so successful and so well received by growers is proof that we are on the right track, and that there is strong demand for locally developed seeds.”
With all the scientific and breeding expertise on hand in Australia, Abundant Seeds is also able to offer growers unparalleled after-sales service. “We view ourselves as being in partnership with our growers,” Sarah Pearson said. “If they have an issue or technical question, I can get them an answer quickly. We are now working with the growing community on backing up our success over summer with many crops planted in the last fortnight, with a strong strike rate for germination. This sets up both growers and Abundant for an exciting summer and 2019.”
For more information:
Unit 23, 376-380 Eastern Valley Way
Chatswood NSW 2067 Australia
t: +61 475 148 018
PO Box 3174
Willoughby North NSW 2068