18 Apr 2024

According to Limgroup, strawberries from seed are the new frontier for sustainable production


Strawberries grown from seeds represent a significant advancement in the sustainable cultivation of strawberries throughout the entire supply chain. In this regard, the Dutch breeder Limgroup presents Limore® One, the first non-clonal hybrid variety that will "bring about a great change for all market agents, generating new business opportunities," according to Sjoerd Gipmans, sales manager for strawberry varieties at this Dutch firm.

Limvalnera, Limalexia, and Limadela are the varieties with which Limgroup presents itself to the strawberry sector. How are these varieties responding to producers' expectations?

Sjoerd Gipmans. Speaking of Limvalnera, a variety specific to the Southern market, it produces high-quality fruit suitable for the European and UK markets. It is a variety that is not only performing very well in Spain but also meeting the expectations of strawberry growers in Italy, Morocco, and Egypt.

"According to a study conducted by Ifapa last year, Limvalnera was one of the few varieties that showed lower sensitivity to water stress."

As for Limalexia, it holds a stable position in the outdoor production market in northern Europe and offers consistent performance combined with delicious flavor.

Then we have Limlouisa, an early variety introduced this year in the Polish market, with excellent taste and quality fruits with a dark red color.

Limgroup has been working on breeding strawberry varieties since 2009. Fifteen years have passed, and its three varieties are well established. What new "strawberry" projects is the company working on?

This year, we introduced our first F1 hybrid strawberry. For years, clonal strawberries have been the norm. Strawberries grown from seeds represent a significant advancement in the sustainable cultivation of this fruit throughout the entire chain. This will bring about radical changes for all market agents, which naturally means new opportunities. Growers can start with clean base material and make better use of their production facilities. 

It also offers new possibilities for automation and drastically shortens the production cycle of plants from two years to 16 weeks. Additionally, with strawberries grown from seeds, plant cultivation can be moved indoors, allowing for optimization of temperature, lighting, and hygiene control. Limore® One is the first hybrid strawberry variety grown from seeds. In the future, we will continue with the introduction of new hybrids, as well as clones.

If Limgroup is distinguished by "contributing to the development and improvement of the strawberry sector." How exactly?

As described earlier, we are now best known for the introduction of our F1 hybrids. But also, we are known for developing excellent healthy and strong genetics with our clonal program.

Speaking of the Spanish strawberry sector, for which the Limvalnera variety was specifically created, how would you define Limgroup's representation as a breeding company?

Regarding Limgroup's representation as a strawberry breeding company in the Southern market, we are relatively new, but the industry knows us for our innovation and quality genetics. Limvalnera has been created for the early-premium market. It is early in production, but also yields a high percentage of fruit suitable for the European and British markets.

At the beginning of the season, when prices rise, Limvalnera growers can earn a lot of money with early-premium fruits. Wonderful shiny and tasty fruits with excellent post-harvest.

There are many advantages to Limvalnera, but is it a variety that Onubense strawberry growers like?

Yes. Farmers in Huelva like Limvalnera precisely because it is a variety with great early production of high quality, which is when the fruits are most expensive.

How do Limgroup varieties adapt to the effects of climate change? (Lack of water, warm winters, heavy spring rains along with strong frosts....)

Nowadays, all growers struggle with extreme weather conditions. We always try with our genetics to release the plant's potential in different scenarios, paying special attention to climate change and its consequences. For this reason, our genetics undergo rigorous testing for this type of environment. Proof of this was last year's results at Ifapa, where Limvalnera showed lower sensitivity to water stress.

From your position as a breeder, what feelings do you get from the 2023-2024 strawberry campaign in Spain?

The season started a bit later than usual due to extremely hot planting weeks. However, the market is recovering very quickly, and at the moment, we see a lot of quality fruit.

How is Limvalera responding, an extra-early variety that has its most productive months between November and February?

Indeed, Limvalnera is an early variety that provides impressive production from early December to February. This is why it is an early variety. However, Limvalnera's total production in Spain goes from early December to late April-May.

Source: ValenciaFruits

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