Jul 2019

Grower2Grower Breakfast, held at BNZ, Pukekohe

Grower2Grower Breakfast, held at BNZ, Pukekohe

New Breeding Developments


Thanks to the BNZ, in Pukekohe, Grower2Grower has held its second successful grower breakfast this season.  Thanks to Paula OHanlon, from BASF vegetable seeds, it presented growers with the opportunity to have a technical presentation from Dutch greenhouse specialist Harm Ammerlaan.

Harm Ammerlaan is based in The Netherlands, he works for the Vegetable Seeds division of BASF, also known as Nunhems. As the son of a tomato grower, living in the Westland area, horticulture has always played a major role in his personal and professional life. The passion to deliver a healthy food offering, to a growing population, runs through his veins. 

Harm’s presentation was on precision breeding for the 21st century. It highlighted the key focus areas, for BASF Vegetable Seeds, within a fast-changing global horticultural landscape. The presentation addressed future market and consumer trends, and highlighted solutions that BASF is providing to its customers.

Nunhems is approaching the future by engaging with the needs of growers and the end consumer.  Taste is now an important aspect when considering new cultivars.  The company is focused on delivering healthy solutions.


Consumer Trends: Consumers have constantly moving demands.

Todays consumers make it necessary to distinguish the link between bulk and added value products.  They are looking at healthy natural choices, sutstainably farmed products, convenience, taste and purchasing local supply.  On line shopping and ready to make meals with ingredients and recipes delivered to your door are growing trends.



The cucumber varieties, sold by Nunhem’s, are for low to high tech greenhouses.  The high-tech market is moving more and more towards high wire cultivation in Holland.  Harm believes that the extra production, of high wire systems, will out way any increase in labour cost from the extra pieces picked per plant. 


Traditional growing systems:

  1. Main stem and lateral production
  2. Many cucumbers maturing at the same time
  3. Variable fruit quality
  4. Big leaves
  5. Dense, unarranged crop.

High Wire growing system:

  1. 100% main stem production
  2. Planning of labour and production
  3. Significant higher yield (+25%)
  4. Specific pruning system
  5. Uniform and high-quality fruits
  6. Open, clear arranged crops

New varieties like Hi Light and Hi Pace are seen as the new generation in cucumber cultivars. 

Powdery mildew resistance is also very important when breeding and supplying new products into the market.



Nunhems also have developed a tomato that can be used in all forms of cooking and eating scenarios.  The variety known as ‘Intense’ is very fleshy, compared to regular varieties, and it will not make your sandwich go soggy!



Future crops Nunhems is currently developing is a smaller than traditional watermelons.  It is in the early phases of developments and looks promising.  It is currently being trialled at one of Nunhems greenhouse’s in the Netherlands. 


Harm was asked what the global trends are with greenhouse horticulture, his response was he believes that more and more growers are moving indoors. 


BNZ Update:

Peter Butler gave a brief update on interest rates and a very insightful overview of the economy.  Main Point: Exporting is going well and the $ vs. our main trading partners is forecast to be stable which is a good sign for exporters.  


PCA Conference:

If you missed Harms presentation at the Grower2Grower breakfast he will be giving this presentation at the PCA (Protected Cropping Australia) conference on the Gold Coast on Tuesday the 9th of July.

Harm showed us images of the new Nunhem glasshouse infrastructure  being built in Holland.  Very impressive.  

Thanks to all of the growers who attended.  


For any further information on this article please contact:


Paula OHanlon
Market Development Vegetable Seeds

Mobile: +64 (0) 21 731 009,

Email: paula.ohanlon@vegetableseeds.basf.com




Peter Butler (BNZ)

Partner – Agribusiness


DDI: +64 9 9048670

M: +64 21 2423600

E: Peter_Butler@bnz.co.nz




I appreciate your comments.  Please feel free to comment below or on the grower2grower Facebook page:


Article Written by Stefan Vogrincic, Consultant, Grower2Grower

Article Edited by Marie Vogrincic, Editor, Grower2Grower


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