As the breeding manuals say, the challenge is not to introduce a new trait but to do it in a strong chassis, underlines Abad. “The chassis is still the most important point in a cucumber variety with the right combination of regularity, earliness, yield, fruit quality and plant performance. Cucumber growers know exactly the yield and quality of all their harvest, they are carefully looking at this information. Cucumber is a producing machine and the machine has to work perfectly.”
For Kraan, the big challenge is to develop varieties that on one hand meet the quality demands for consumers and on the other hand have a good package of resistances while still giving a high yield.
“For me,” says Bal, “the challenge is to not just to be a follower, but bringing varieties with new traits, develop new types (snack cucumber), create new segments and to make use of new breeding tools.”
The challenge is undoubtedly the breeding of a quality variety, that stands up to the competition on a professional level, but also a variety, that will be appreciated by small growers thanks to its taste characteristics, says Aust. “And not to forget, the breeder must also think about the potential for propagating new varieties, including the seamless production of parent lines. In this case, the greatest challenge is to find markers of individual important properties for quality and operative selection of suitable materials.”
“I like to compare the process of obtaining a variety as if you were tuning an instrument,” says González-Cabezuelo. “Sometimes it is difficult to introduce numerous resistance factors in a variety without affecting other parameters such as productivity or fruit quality, for example. The main challenge is to ensure that a variety is completely tuned, not out of harmony in any of its aspects.”