BASF opens global breeding center for cucumbers in Nunhem

Fruit & Veg magazine
November 20, 2018
By Fruit & Veg magazine
BASF has opened a new state-of-the-art breeding center for cucumbers at its site in Nunhem, the Netherlands. At around 50 million Euro, it is the largest investment in the hundred-year history of the Nunhem vegetable seeds business.

The 2.5 hectare greenhouse complex with a 17,000 m2 technical and office facility will increase BASF’s capabilities to meet the needs of consumers and the global food value chain with novel vegetable varieties.

“Vegetable seeds are a key part of BASF’s expanded portfolio in agriculture and we are excited to support the growth of our business through innovation and state-of-the-art breeding technologies”, said Markus Heldt, President of BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division.

The facility will house all cucumber pre-breeding and breeding programs in Nunhem: high wire, long, short, snack and pickling cucumber types, including the phenotyping line which offers digital evaluation of fruit characteristics. The results from these programs will provide innovative new varieties for greenhouse and open-field growers as well as retailers and consumers around the world.

“Innovation combined with a deep understanding of customer needs drives our business at BASF. We aim to develop vegetable varieties that create value and exceed the expectations of tomorrow’s consumer”, said Andreas Sewing, Head of R&D, BASF’s vegetable seeds business.

State-of-the art technologies accelerate innovation
The facility incorporates the latest technology to optimize breeding operations including plant hygiene locks, equipment and protocols to minimize infection risk, difused glazing for optimal use of natural light, high roofs and high-pressure moistening for better plant climate and energy saving. In combination with marker technology in the laboratory and indoor farming techniques, this breeding center will reduce the development time of seed varieties by up to 25 per cent.

Reduced environmental footprint
The greenhouse is also at the forefront of modern environmental standards. Energy saving technologies and translucent screens inside the greenhouse ensure an even climate and reduce gas consumption by up to 48 per cent. Repeated recycling, disinfection and cleaning of the cultivation water reduce crop protection residues in sewer and surface water by 99.5 per cent which is above the current Dutch legal requirement of 95 per cent.

Creator Campus
The Nunhem site is the first in a series of global centers of excellence establishing the Creator Campus concept. “Our aspiration is to provide an open platform for variety development and innovation with value chain and R&D partners. It will enable us to nurture ideas and create successful vegetable solutions together”, commented Joachim Schneider, head of BASF’s vegetable seeds business. “We want to inspire both professionals and consumers to connect, create and grow an exciting future for the vegetable market.”

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