Seed business breeds growth for Enza Zaden - The Packer

Seed business breeds growth for Enza Zaden

05/25/2012 11:58:00 AM
Mike Hornick

SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Calif. — Growth in lettuce, pepper and onion breeding programs keeps construction crews busy at Enza Zaden Research USA Inc. The seed developer on May 24 officially opened a 10,000 square-foot research building in San Juan Bautista, and more greenhouses are being constructed. “Enza Zaden is growing rapidly,” said Ronald Welten, breeding station manager. In part that’s due to the company’s acquisition of an onion breeding program four years ago. Pepper and lettuce activity have also picked up, he said. “We were at the point where there was no room for expansion whatsoever in the old building,” Welten said. “The breeding teams have been reinforced over the last couple years. We’re (also) going to build onion processing facilities this year.” The research building is comprised of offices, a pathology lab and climatized seed vault. Designed with sustainability features, it’s expected to become the first LEED certified building in San Benito County, company and county officials said. Besides three breeding programs, Enza Zaden Research USA also screens spinach, cauliflower, squash and pumpkins for company divisions such as Vitalis Organic Seeds. A crowd of about 60 came out for the ribbon cutting, among them representatives of Earthbound Farm, Ocean Mist Farms and the University of California-Davis. Joep Lambalk, global research and development director for Enkhuizen, the Netherlands-based Enza Zaden, said California isn’t the only place the company is making moves in. “We will this year start up activities in India and South Africa,” he said. “Next year we have plans to start in Brazil.” “We are very comfortable that we are able to add in the coming years more and more product groups, like summer squash (and) pumpkins,” Lambalk said. Enza Zaden deals in 22 vegetable species and more than 1,000 varieties, he said. The onion program at San Juan Bautista focuses on short-day and intermediate-day onions, Welten said, while the New Zealand program breeds long day varieties. “We’re trying to cover the whole world,” Welten said. “This year we’re going to start a program in northwestern Europe for the long-day onion types.” Tom Hussar, trialing manager for Castroville-based Ocean Mist Farms, said his company uses some Enza Zaden lettuce varieties. “A lot of seed companies have field days to show their products,” Hussar said. “Having a relationship with the primary seed breeding company is important because it’s good to see what’s coming up and communicate back to them different traits we’re looking for in crops.”

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Dr. Maria de la Fuente    
UCCE San Benito & Monterey  |  May, 29, 2012 at 02:30 PM

I attended the inauguration, it was a great event, and also an opportunity to do networking. My own connections with The netherlands (I also studied in Wageningen) and the work I've done in Chile peppers, made me feel at home. I'm one of the FUniversity of California arm Advisors for your area and whenever you need assistance, don't hesitate to e-mail me. I've also worked with Eduardo Villanueva-mosqueda, and we will be cooperating in a research project if it gets funded. CONGRATULATIONS again for the event, and thanks for the invite. Maria de la Fuente, PhD

Rien Rodenburg    
Purwakarta Indonesia  |  June, 03, 2012 at 12:50 AM

congratulations and enjoy the new buildings, hope to visit the location one time in future. succes regards, rien

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