Farm factories - Plant genetics
During the COVID19 pandemic in 2020 it became adamant how important it is to have horticultural produce close to our urban environments. At the start of the CO|VID pandemic logistics was forced to come to a halt and it took weeks for it to start up again leading to a lack of food supply to certain urban areas in well developed western countries. Through technical advances in vertical farming, there are companies specialized in setting up large automated plants where high-density horticultural crops can be produced, under controlled environments, followed by processing at the same location and all within close proximity to the market. These farming practices have one limitation - the present plant genetics have not been developed for such farming practices and are not suited.
AgricSeed is involved with a breeder producer company which is specialized in breeding genetically compact horticultural plants. These plants, therefore, require minimum attention during crop cultivation and often produce a multiple of uniformly ripened fruit in a certain time period allowing for a single harvest. After harvest, it is possible to replace the crop with a new or different crop. This is unique as most horticultural crops with produce for fresh market use are harvested over time in a long growth cycle. With the unique genetics, we are able to reduce the crop cultivation cycle and allowing for two to three cycles per season with excellent yields.
We are in a phase in which we are screening different unique tomato and pepper genetics for suitability in a French Farm factory system. The first prototype farm will be implemented in November 2020 containing genetics supplied by us.
Type of technology: disruptive
Available genetics: Tomato, Pepper, Cauliflower, strawberry
Urban consumers - Plant genetics
Urban consumers have busy but efficient lifestyles and are health conscious and very aware of their diets. These urban consumers do not have the time or energy to prepare, raise and maintain a vegetable patch or garden, but do like to have container-grown vegetables, giving them access to fresh healthy fruit and vegetables. AgricSeed has access to specialised vegetable genetics which is genetically dwarfed and screened to be consumer proof. Genetically dwarfed means that they are bred to suit specific container sizes and do not need pruning or clipping. They produce a multiple of fruit during the season are very hardy and can withstand periods of drought when these urban consumers are away for a weekend or longer. Very suited also for people with balconies or patios.
Not only does the selected genetics provide access to healthy vegetables and fruit but they have ornamental value as these were bred to provide fruit that is readily accessible and clearly visible giving colour to the plant.
Kitchen pick / Kitchen harvest - plant genetics
In line with the kitchen herbs, we would like to introduce small 10cm high tomato, pepper and baby cauliflower varieties suited for the kitchen as a kitchen pick or kitchen harvest. These can also be used in gourmet settings where the plants can be placed as decorative elements on the tables whereby allowing customers to snack from them or built their own salads. These pants are genetically dwarfed and very small and typically suit small households where the consumer likes to have access to fresh fruit as a snack or for salads or cooking. For the size of the plant, it gives an exceptional yield but the amount of fruit is limited.
Not only does the selected genetics provide access to healthy vegetables and fruit but they have ornamental value as these were bred to provide fruit that is readily accessible and clearly visible giving colour to the plant and your kitchen.
The goal is to partner with large retail chains and growers, whereby growers cultivate these vegetables throughout the year and supply the retail stores. We aim to have our products available in the vegetable segment of the store so the consumer can choose between a packed vegetable or a tomato, pepper or baby cauliflower plant. The goal would be for the consumer to harvest the plant and discard it to purchase a new one, having fresh fruit available throughout the year. We furthermore expect less loss and food waste through the decay of unused / eaten fruit in the fridge, as the unharvested fruit stay fresh on the plant longer.
Farming on the moon on the way to MARS - Plant genetics
In 2019 we were approached by NASA who obtained some of our dwarfed vegetable genetics and had an immediate interest to use these in their cultivation program to provide fresh produce to astronauts in the International Space Station (ISS) and also in preparation to the expected human missions to MARS. We have passed the first testing rounds and shown that the selected genetics are able to grow and yield under NASA's required growing conditions.
The next phase is to evaluate the survival of seed under the space radiation (start 2020) when seed is sent for storage in the ISS.
Sustainable F1 strawberry production
Propagating F1 strawberries from seed is already unique and having the possibility to grow the crop year-round in the greenhouse is also unique. With the Fresh Market F1 everbearing, day-neutral, varieties from ABZ seeds, this has become possible. Not only does ABZ seeds provide high-quality F1 seed with the germination of >90%, but the seed is also free from any known seed-borne diseases. Another advantage is the ability to work with seed, makes for improved crop cultivation planning. The varieties started from seed flower and start with fruit production within 4 months from sowing. Compare this to the bare-root plantlet raising and cultivation, which requires a full season at least and then needs to go into the cooler to secure flowering will occur on the second season. Most of our Fresh Market varieties are cultivated on peat, cocos or a mixture of these both in substrate. Although this does work very well, we are looking at making the cultivation of strawberries even more sustainable by growing them in rockwool substrates in the greenhouse. Already ABZ seeds has demonstrated that it is possible to sow the strawberries direct onto rockwool plugs, transfer to blocks and finally place the blocks onto rockwool maths, making it possible to do a complete cultivation cycle on rockwool. The next phase is to optimize the germination and cultivation to reach the same results as on Cocus/Peat substrates.