Tuesday, September 04, 2018

BASF in Nunhem celebrates 25 years of the hybrid leek

Nunhem (Netherlands).
With the introduction of the first leek hybrid in 1992, Nunhems achieved a real breakthrough in the world of leek cultivation. From August 30 until September 1, the innovative vegetable breeding company celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Nunhems hybrid leek. To honour this milestone, we not only look back at the evolution of the leek hybrids over the years, but also focus our attention, as frontrunner, on the future of the leek.
With the introduction of the leek hybrid, Nunhems was able to eliminate the problems associated with open pollinated leek varieties in one fell swoop. The leek is a cross pollinator that also has the ability to pollinate itself. However, the greater the frequency of self-pollination, the higher the rate of inbreeding and the weaker the seeds become. This has led to insufficient uniformity and stability in open pollinated leek varieties. With the discovery of a male sterile plant that was unable to pollinate itself, we were able to make hybridization possible. This hybridization resulted in a considerable improvement in the quality, uniformity, and stability of the leek.
Year-round leek assortment
Although Nunhems itself was firmly convinced of the strength of the hybrid leek, this Carlton F1 variety was received with varying enthusiasm during its commercial introduction in 1996. One reason for this was the slightly different color that the leek hybrids initially had. However, this did not put off a number of forward-looking growers who were soon able to achieve 35% to 40% higher yields. As a result, it took less than two years to change the minds of even the biggest sceptics. In 2007, we introduced a new generation of leek hybrids with the Belton F1 and the Megaton F1. In 2010, we completed our year-round leek assortment with our Pluston F1 and Aylton F1 winter varieties.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the hybrid leek, a demonstration field was created to showcase all the varieties from the past 25 years. Here, BASF’s clients and partners were able to see with their own eyes the developments made by our leek hybrids throughout the years.
Sustainable leek cultivation
Since the invention of the leek hybrid, we have not stopped for a moment. As a pioneer in leek cultivation, we are continuously engaged in the research and development of innovative methods to improve the sustainability of leek cultivation. Innovative methods we have been working on in 2018 include the cultivation of leek on water, digital farming with the help of drones, research into resistance to leek diseases, and green fertilization. We have always taken on a major pioneering role in these matters and demonstrated this during the event with a large number of demonstrations.
“We have a great deal of expertise at BASF as well as a strong passion for leeks,” explains Danny van Boom, Sales Manager of the Leek Crop Team. “We share this passion and knowledge with our customers. Our aim is to work together to market the leeks as sustainably as possible and, in doing so, guarantee the future of the leek for the consumers of tomorrow. We believe that in this way we can capture a permanent position in the supermarkets.”


About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division
With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2017, our division generated sales of €5.7 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.

About BASF
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The more than 115,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of €64.5 billion in 2017. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at www.basf.com
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Uwe Dijkshoorn
Brand Manager Vegetable seeds
uwe.dijkshoorn@vegetableseeds.basf.com
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