Priming, the treatment Hazera has developed for onion seeds, is purely customized and can offer many benefits for growers. Primed onion seeds mean that the onion is likely to grow more evenly and can generate a higher yield potential. Moreover, fewer seeds per hectare may be needed. Another advantage is that weeds can be better controlled, with less damage to the onion plants.
Testing this priming in practice was not an overnight process. There are different cultivation areas for onions, with many varying conditions and our goal is to supply seeds that are customised for the different regions.
“The growers are enthusiastic about it. We can see this in the sales figures” says Adam Prabucki, Regional Product Manager, Rooted and Bulbs at Hazera.
Adam Prabucki completed his education in Agriculture at the University of Warsaw, where he also taught after his studies. Since 2001 he has worked at Hazera, firstly in Poland and, since 2014, in The Netherlands. He is Regional Product Manager for Europe and Central Asia for both onions and radish.
Tested in practice
It was Important in the development of the priming process that we tested it on different varieties in many areas. Therefore, it is not one standard protocol, but very precisely tailored protocols, for the requirements of the local growers. Collaboration and trust were very important in this. We focus on long-term relationships with growers. If the protocols are successful, then we will also benefit from this. Such a process takes a long time, but the result is there! The sale of primed seeds grows by a double-digit percentage every year. The growers really experience the added value of primed seeds.
The onion market in the Netherlands is very large and significant. Even in this relatively small country, there are many factors to take into account. One can think of the type of soil on which the onions are grown, but extreme drought and wetness also play important roles, just like the influence of salt. Last season showed, once again, that the climate is erratic, and can change and vary locally.
By using primed seeds, specifically aimed for these different circumstances, the grower can achieve great benefits and work more flexibly. Popular varieties such as Dormo F1, Centro F1, Vento F1 and Fasto F1 are also part of the priming programme.
“In Germany and Russia, to name just two countries, we extensively tested the priming method” said Adam Prabucki. The growers experience more flexibility. They can sow earlier, in March for example, and see that the seeds all absorb the same amount of water and germinate very evenly while using fewer seeds. This can make up to 10% per hectare which is advantageous.
“But there is more”, says Adam Prabucki. “The control of weeds is important in onion cultivation. Use of herbicides can negatively affect the smaller plants. Because the primed seeds appear much more evenly, hopefully the problem is now behind us. By using primed seeds there is less damage to plants and we can expect a higher yield potential”.
To avoid misunderstanding, Adam Prabucki emphasises that sowing earlier does not mean that it can also be harvested earlier, but that the yield potential is higher.
Adam Prabucki: “It’s important that growers also know that there are restrictions on the primed seeds. This way we keep each other in trust. There is one aspect that needs to be taken into account; the primed seeds should not be sown too late, so as to avoid extreme soil conditions. Starting early is the motto, even if the temperatures are still relatively low. When you keep this in mind, your plants are likely to appear evenly, grow well, give a more uniform bulb size, have high yield potential and will be easier to harvest and process."