Queensland growers welcomed Seminis’ capsicum breeder Brian Just who was on a tour of the region in late June to find out more about the needs of local growers and the Australian market.
Around 90 per cent of the capsicums grown in North and Central Queensland have been developed through Seminis’ US-based capsicum breeding program, which has been running under Brian’s leadership since 2008.
“The Seminis capsicums you see in Queensland have been bred specifically for this market,” Mr Just said. “When I visit Australia I go straight to Queensland with our local team to visit growers, who are trialling new varieties from our product pipeline to see how they fit with local environmental pressures.
“Grower interaction and feedback is absolutely critical. I learn the most when I am in the field with Queensland growers, many who I have been visiting yearly since 2009.”
He said growers he visited in places like Bowen, Gumlu and Bundaberg are pleased with the overall performance of Seminis’ current varieties, but are always looking for new ways achieve higher yields and better uniformity of fruit.
“At Seminis, we’re always looking to improve our plant genetics – that’s our motto: better with every generation. When it comes to capsicums, we want to give growers plants with better fruit uniformity and the right disease resistances which will help their overall profitability in a challenging market.”
He said the main focus of his breeding program is improving grower yield through better fruit quality, improved disease resistance, and improved shape and uniformity that better fits with new high-tech packing operations.
“No matter what the size, uniformity is really important. This is particularly relevant as growers automate their grading and packing operations: the more uniform the fruit, the most cost-effective it is to automate.
“We are also look at improving plant cover and architecture to better protect fruit from the Queensland sun, which should result in an increase in marketable yield.”
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