In #davidweek we take a look at the agenda of young professionals in Seed Valley.
Hi, I’m David Boeren, 29 years old and I’ve been working as an assistant radish breeder at Hazera in Warmenhuizen for 5 years now. We are active in breeding, production, processing, marketing and sales of a wide range of vegetable seeds.
My background? I studied Applied Biology at a university of applied sciences in Brabant (HBO). I thought I would go into ecology, but eventually I came into contact with breeding. After my studies I moved from Brabant to Alkmaar to work for Hazera. My work there as assistant breeder is very varied. Every day is different, just like every season. That makes my work always a nice challenge. The perfect radish does not exist, there is always something to improve in terms of disease resistance or how the crop grows. But we try to get as close to perfection as possible! Curious how? I’ll take you through that process this week!
Starting off the week!
Good morning! Today my week starts at our office in Warmenhuizen. Here we do all the breeding and research on radish.
Breeding is a long process. It takes at least twelve years before a new, commercial variety comes onto the market from a first cross. This means that we think years ahead about which varieties will be popular in the future. It’s great to be involved in this!
Tuesday is pollination day
I start the day by answering emails, going over the schedules and then a tour of the greenhouse. Here are the selected tubers from the growers. They can be grown and cultivated here in the open ground. That means we let them self-pollinate.
That self-pollination is very simple. We put a net around the radish and let flies in. They do the work for us: the pollination.
Today is a day in the greenhouse at our growers in Westland. There we will harvest and select radishes. We check all the lines in the greenhouse. With some of them you can immmediatly see that the radishes are not good enough, the nice lines I take to Warmenhuizen.
That’s usually about 150 radishes per number. Tomorrow I will assess them 1 on 1 for shape, uniformity and quality, both internally and externally. That usually takes me a whole day. Selecting is the most fun. Then you have all this beautiful stuff that we might be able to market!
Radish selecting on thursday
We brought a good selection of radishes from yesterday. Today we are going to select and judge them one by one. That’s actually what I’m doing all day. I find this the most beautiful work to do!
The good radishes go into the greenhouse on trays. A good radish is nice and big and red. But sometimes radishes have other colors as well…. Purple or white for example! These are milder in flavor and special in color. Great for a specialty restaurant.
This morning my alarm clock went off at 5 a.m.. About five to six times a year I go to the trial fields in Germany for quality checks of the newly produced seed. That means getting up early and driving for six hours. Once I have arrived in Germany, I immediately go to work on the checks.
It’s nice to work in the open air for a day like this! It is very important for us to develop new numbers for the German market. Hazera is market leader for radishes in the Netherlands, and we also do well in Italy and England. We are still relatively small in Germany, so we can really grow there!
This was my week. Together with my colleagues in Seed Valley I work on the worldwide availability of healthy vegetables and colorful flowers. In doing so, we are constantly facing new challenges. The big question is: What will you do?
Or do you want to read more #theweekof? Read #paulweek, research assistant branding technology at Pop Vriend Seeds here.