The breeding company Agri-Saaten can look back on an exciting 2023. At the end of June, part of the carrot breeding programme called Carosem GmbH was sold to Enza Zaden. Meanwhile, the family business based in Bad Essen has by no means stood still, as Co-Managing Director Hendrik Müller explains on request. Among other things, the company's product portfolio was enriched with a large number of innovative vegetable varieties.
Although part of the carrot breeding programme of sister company Carosem GmbH has been sold, another part has been retained. "The tried-and-tested carrot varieties Caravel F1, Bengala F1 and Carrillon F1, which are already established on the market, will continue to be available from us. In addition, we also want to introduce two new trial varieties to the market. These are so-called Nantaise varieties, which can be harvested after a total of approx. 120 days and are also beautifully blunt and homogeneous. They still have to prove themselves in processing and the trial seed will be available from 2024," Müller explains.
Italian onions gain in importance
Agri Saaten has recently become the new exclusive partner of Maraldi Sementi from Italy for the German-speaking countries as well as the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This has enabled the company to expand its portfolio in the leafy vegetables and salads sector. Müller: "New to the programme are the baby leaf varieties Batavia Afrodite, Tango Icebat and red Batavia Frecciarosse, the two lamb's lettuce varieties Dali and Excel and the rocket varieties Sele F1 and Rubicon F1. We have also added American onion varieties and Italians. In general, we are seeing a trend in onions away from the classic Rijnsburger onions towards Italian types. The latter category is increasingly moving from southern Europe to the north and can now also be grown in central Germany. We have already successfully trialled several shallot varieties, which we will now also be offering in the coming season, in particular the Noa variety. In addition, our early Japanese onion variety Lustar F1 has now also established itself as an onion set."
The acquisition of a Danish spinach grower means that Maraldi Sementi, and therefore Agri Saaten, will also have access to a broad programme of baby leaf spinach varieties from 2024. Another hobbyhorse of Agri Saaten has been root vegetables for many years, emphasises Müller. "We are still pushing the parsnip programme and have started breeding here, which we took over from Hazera, with Victor F1 (early), Vulcan F1 and Viper F1."
From left to right: The shallot Noa, the Japanese onion Lustar F1 and the parsnip Victor F1
Sweetcorn and herbs
However, the company's main products are still spring onion seed and sweetcorn. "In the sweetcorn segment, we have a new early variety called Sprinter F1. This variety is very compact compared to our bestseller in the early segment, Sweet Nugget F1. We also have a new variety in the tender segment called Takeoff F1. We also have new genetics from the USA, which we are now offering in trials."
In recent years, the herb sector has also become increasingly important, Müller observes. "Here, too, we want to specialise further. In particular, we have a number of new varieties of parsley (Sombre, Smaragd), dill (Annette, Dinos), cress (Speedy), potted basil (Compacta) and field-grown basil (Genua Star) as well as coriander (Jantar), both for conventional and organic cultivation. We have started to further develop our varieties here." The Agri Saaten programme is rounded off with new varieties of beetroot, gherkins, salsify, broad beans and beetroot.
Agri-Saaten has been using a microplastic-free coating for a long time, also in combination with a biostimulant. "We see very good future prospects here for strengthening plant growth at a time when fewer and fewer systemically effective substances are available. We also try to support our customers with seed optimisations such as priming, coating, incrustation and calibration," concludes Müller.
Images: Agri-Saaten GmbH