United Kingdom
07 April 2020
United Kingdom

BASF cucumber breeders look back and into the future
20 Years High wire Cucumbers

This year, it’s twenty years since BASF Vegetable Seeds started to breed for high-wire cucumbers. Twenty successful years also mean twenty years of trusted partnership. Vegetable seeds are the starting point of our daily diet and growers from all over the world rely on high quality genetics to grow strong and healthy crops. Especially in times like these, reliable and fruitful collaboration is key.


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. 

It’s the end of June 2000: cucumber grower Jack Crienen from Baarlo (NL) found a special plant type with smaller and horizontal leaves at his This was the starting point for a new way of breeding within BASF Vegetable Seeds. 

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.

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For more information, please contact the cucumber sales specialists at BASF Vegetable Seeds:

Rens Muusers

+31 (0)6-18719921


It’s been already in the 1990s that growers tried cultivating cucumbers in high wire tomato greenhouses, but it took the industry some more years to make it a real success. Today high wire cucumber growing has become the state-of-the-art system in many countries, giving the opportunity for market-oriented production, further optimization and automation.

At BASF Vegetable Seeds we are proud of being a vital part in this development. Together with you, we want to celebrate these 20 successful years in high wire cucumber cultivation in 2020. We will to take you with us on a thrilling journey from the past to the future. We will exchange our knowledge in stories, videos, masterclasses, network at several events and become even more inspired about the endless opportunities of cucumbers. 2020 will be full of surprises for all of us.

Let’s join and celebrate together.

Watch the video to join Robert and Gerhard about 20 years of high wire cucumber breeding 

Last Update 07 April 2020