Dutch companies, Bejo/De Groot en Slot, can now introduce the first Downy mildew resistant seed shallot - the Innovator. This is after years of breeding. This hybrid variety is meant for long-day areas. It has a slightly more elongated bulb and pronounced color.
Downy mildew is a big problem in onion and shallot fields in many parts of the world. It infects the shallot's foliage. That can result in crop losses or even complete failure. So, the Innovator is a solution for the organic market. Fewer pesticides are allowed in shallot farming.
This new variety is, therefore, also very desirable for the conventional market. Organic Innovator seeds will be available soon. Innovator seeds are a very healthy propagation material. That's a significant advantage over shallot sets.
Timo Petter, Crop Research Manager at Bejo, says, "Our breeders crossed the Downy mildew resistance (HR: Peronospora destructor) from the wild Allium sort A. roylei into shallots. That was in the mid-80s."
"From that, we developed parent lines that carry this resistance. We did so through traditional (natural) breeding. The variety has other quality characteristics too. These are vigor, bulb shape, multiple growth points, dry matter content, hardness, and good skin quality."
These parent line combinations of hybrid crosses were extensively tested over many years. The Innovator hybrid seed shallot was selected as the best, most stable crossing. The entire development process took no less than 30 years.
That's from the first hybrid to having commercial hybrid seed available for market introduction. "After this long period of breeding, we're very proud of the new Innovator variety. It's an interesting addition to our seed shallot assortment," says Timo.
"During all that testing and selecting, the breeders, however, gained a lot of experience. Not only about the built-in Downy mildew resistance. They also learned about hybrid in its cultivation and storage phases," say spokespeople from both companies.
"They also gained knowledge about the parent lines during seed production. All this makes them confident. The Innovator combines unique downy mildew resistance with the highest quality characteristics. These are evident in other Bejo/De Groot en Slot seed shallot varieties."
The Innovator is Bejo/De Groot en Slot's latest creation. "This variety isn't only mildew resistant. It also has good yields and is very suitable for long storage. This seed shallot is a nice red-brown with a pink internal color and elongated shape. The Innovator is perfect for the industry and the fresh market. It's as vigorous and storable as our standard Conservor variety," conclude the company representatives.
For more information:
De Groot en Slot
1720 AA, Broek op Langedijk, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 226 331 200
1749 CZ, Warmenhuizen, NL
Tel: +31 (0) 226 396 162