BASF cucumber breeders look back and into the future
20 Years High wire Cucumbers
BASF Vegetable Seeds’ former and current long cucumber breeders, Gerhard Reuling and Robert Swinkels, review the past 20 years of high wire cucumber cultivation and share their vision on future developments in high wire cucumber cultivation.
Gerhard Reuling, cucumber breeder from 1984-2013 at BASF Vegetable Seeds, remembers back that time: “From that year on we started to cross these characteristics into our existing breeding material, ultimately resulting in the varieties that are currently at the market.” Compared with 20 years ago the varieties nowadays require less labor which makes them cheaper to grow and showing much more uniformity.
How are new varieties made?
“We make a new variety by crossing two parental lines. During the breeding process we put as many desirable traits as possible into our parental lines”, explains Robert Swinkels, senior cucumber breeder at BASF Vegetable Seeds. The selection for those traits is mainly based on yield, fruit quality and resistances.
A boost for high wire cultivation
“By developing these Compact varieties, Nunhems has given the cucumber cultivation a boost towards high wire”, both breeders agree on. Reuling is proud of what he sees today: “Now, 20 years later, it’s fantastic to see that we’re still working with these characteristics and varieties. That’s the success we achieved together as a team. I still enjoy that.” And yes, it is great to see our varieties growing during every single visit to a grower’s greenhouse. What the future will bring? Swinkels is sure that the next major step will be towards yearround cultivation with artificial light.
Watch the video to join Robert and Gerhard about 20 years of high wire cucumber breeding