BASF has opened a new state-of-the-art breeding centre for cucumbers at its site in Nunhem, Netherlands. At a cost of about $50 million euros, it’s the largest investment in the hundred-year history of the Nunhem vegetable seeds business, according to a company news release.
The 2.5 hectare complex includes 17,000 metre2 of greenhouse facilities housing cucumber pre-breeding and breeding programs for high wire, long, short, snack and pickling types. A phenotyping line will be used for digital evaluation of fruit characteristics. Together they will support the development of new varieties for greenhouse and open-field growers.
The latest in greenhouse technologies will be employed including plant hygiene locks, equipment and protocols to minimize infection, diffused glazing for best use of natural light, high roofs and high-pressure moistening for better plant climate and energy saving. In combination with marker technology in the lab and indoor farming techniques, the centre expects to reduce the development time of seed varieties by up to 25 per cent.
Energy saving technologies and translucent screens inside are forecast to reduce gas consumption by up to 48 per cent. Repeated recycling, disinfection and cleaning of the cultivation water will reduce crop protection residues in the sewer and surface water by 99.5 per cent, which is above the current Dutch legal requirement of 95 per cent.
In 2017, 2,532 hectares in Canada were planted in cucumbers and gherkins, and 206,228 metric tonnes were greenhouse-grown. Farm gate value of field cucumbers and gherkins was almost $39 million and greenhouse cucumbers topped $383 million.
Source: BASF November 8, 2018 news release