On September 7, specialists of Saatzucht Bauer, one of the oldest seed growing companies in Germany, visited Zashchitnoye plant breeding and growing operation belonging to EkoNiva Group. The parties discussed the cooperation prospects in cereals and pulses breeding and seed growing. The German delegation was led by the CEO Berthold Bauer, while EkoNiva was represented by Sergey Lyashko, First Deputy General Manager, and Yuriy Vasyukov, Regional Director of Zashchitnoye operation.
EkoNiva and Saatzucht Bauer have been collaborating on commercial seed growing for nine years to offer the best European varieties of cereals and pulses to Russian farmers. In 2016, the companies agreed to expand their mutually beneficial partnership in plant breeding programmes and technologies, including incorporation of German varieties’ genetic potential in EkoNiva’s winter wheat programme. The resulting generations are selected and tested in different environmental conditions.
‘The main objective of our project is to combine Russian winter hardiness and high baking quality with European yielding capacity and harvestability in the genomes of new wheat cultivars’, says Yuriy Vasyukov, Regional Director of Zashchitnoye. ‘The cultivars chosen for further competitive trials exceed the regional standard by 8-20%.’
During the visit, the parties discussed a number of on-going issues, including such modern techniques as marker-assisted breeding, haploid doubling, and the usage of enclosed research greenhouses (phytotrons) which make it possible to accelerate the plant breeding progress.
The guests from Saatzucht Bauer also looked at the trial plots and toured the Plant Breeding Centre.
In follow up to the meeting, the partners agreed to commence the environmental evaluation of the new prospective lines and varieties created by EkoNiva-Semena Plant Breeding Centre for their further registration in the European countries. At present, EkoNiva is working on extending the geographical distribution of the in-house varieties – for instance, winter wheat Cepheus, Alioth and Sheratan are undergoing trials in Belarus and Kazakhstan.