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A change is sweeping through Australia’s cucumber growing industry, yielding big results.
In 2018, Australian cucumber growers faced a challenging winter, dealing with extended cold periods, often with ice coating their greenhouses and losses of up to 40% of their crops due to cold strike (fruit scurfing). Now they are planting summer crops and, with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology placing an 80% likelihood on hotter than average conditions (day and night) for November to January, heat stress is a major concern. Plants subjected to extended periods of high temperatures, particularly when the thermometer doesn’t give them a break overnight, become more susceptible to pest and disease outbreaks, and can react by aborting their fruit. Grower yields plummet and, at worst, crops fail completely.
An expanding cadre of growers are facing the change of season with new confidence because they have a secret weapon. They are planting significantly better seeds produced by Australian-based, Abundant Seeds.
Making this one small change to their process, cucumber growers have reported greater cold and heat tolerance, more vigorous growth and fruit production, a longer picking cycle, and fruit with improved colour, shape and uniformity.
“Abundant’s plants are healthier.”
“Abundant’s plants are more suited to my growing environment.”
“Next winter the full crop will be Abundant.”
“Will grow only Abundant cucumbers again next summer.”
These are some of the comments from growers who trialled Abundant cucumber seeds in 2018.
Sound too good to be true? Why should Abundant’s seeds be so much better?
Abundant Seeds teamed up with Sydney University’s Plant Breeding Institute (PBI) in 2011, and since then, plant scientists have been breeding cucumbers suited to Australian conditions and low tech (unheated, uncooled) greenhouses. This is in stark contrast with internationally sourced horticultural seeds bred in high tech, climate-controlled greenhouses in Europe or the United States.
“Abundant Seeds’ absolute focus is to provide better options and better results for growers, and in turn superior fruit for consumers,” Abundant’s Sales and Operations Manager, Sarah Pearson said. “We have developed and produced high quality varieties, here in Australia perfect for growing in Australian conditions. We, and Australian growers, are enormously fortunate to have this collaboration with the University of Sydney PBI. Their scientists are able to breed plants that offer substantial advantages to growers without the need for major changes in crop management. For our first winter and spring season trials to be so successful and so well received by growers is proof that we are on the right track, and that there is strong demand for locally developed seeds.”
With all the scientific and breeding expertise on hand in Australia, Abundant Seeds is also able to offer growers unparalleled after-sales service.
“We view ourselves as being in partnership with our growers,” Sarah Pearson said. “If they have an issue or technical question, I can get them an answer quickly. We are now working with the growing community on backing up our success over summer with many crops planted in the last fortnight, with a strong strike rate for germination. This sets up both growers and Abundant for an exciting summer and 2019.”
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