Producing an onion is a dedicated process.
A good dish becomes a great dish when you add sautéed onions and as simple as it may seem to cook with an onion, we rarely think about the hard work that goes into growing the perfect bulb.
Producing an onion takes significant investment, innovation and first class processes as well as dedicated people. Seminis’ onion breeding facility in Pukekohe, New Zealand makes this all possible. The new Pukekohe Onion Breeding Station has been in operation for three years and continues to lead with its proactive approach to onion breeding and variety development.
The new onion varieties being developed at the Pukekohe Onion Breeding Station demonstrate that the investment in time, resources and money is well worth it. Seminis onions are paving the way for a sustainable onion export industry in New Zealand, helping us to support the local community through employment, skill development and trade. Ultimately our efforts at the breeding station are about giving growers first-class hybrid onions that perform well agronomically and find a home in end-use markets all around the world.
Innovation is at the heart of the Pukekohe operation. Each year, the station develops many new onion hybrids. Out of these, maybe one variety reaches market. These odds are ok with us, because we need to develop breeds that can flourish in a specific set of conditions. The station pours energy into focusing on creating the best possible plant for the circumstance.
Bringing a new onion hybrid to market is a lengthy operation. The process of research, development and testing can take up to 15 years. Once a seed is developed, it takes a further 12 months for the seed to grow into a bulb. Over the subsequent year, the onion spends time in the ground growing, producing the next generation of seed.
Our suite of technology, driven by modern biological science and cutting-edge machinery nurtures this process.
Highest quality produce
In 2016, New Zealand exported $112 million worth of onions. Most these onions made their way to Asia followed by continental Europe.
As onions make their way thousands of kilometers around the globe, they need to store for a long time and maintain a high quality. The strength of our Seminis New Zealand Pukekohe midday onions is that they are the longest storing onions in the world, suitable for grow crops in South Africa, Asia and Australia.
We are so proud and excited about our mission to improve onion resistance to common diseases. Our upcoming varieties will have increased resistance to common root diseases like Pink Root, making them ideal for farmers. For example, our hybrid Cassowarie onion is now available, is resistant to Pink Root and can be grown productively in infected soils. We are looking forward to launching another variety in the next 12 months.
A first-class team produces an exceptional onion. As part of a global onion breeding network, the Pukehoke Onion Breeding Station has access to dedicated plant pathologists, vegetable quality laboratories, a cell biology lab and a team of statisticians. In these departments, our people are continuously testing seeds to ensure the onions produced reach the high levels of quality that growers expect.
That world class onion sitting on your kitchen bench just waiting to become a curry, bolognaise or sauce? There’s a good chance it comes from a long line of Pukekohe onions, grown with thought and care by people applying technology at the forefront of modern agriculture.