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24. 05. 2019


Practical Breeding

Practical breeding of hybrid varieties represents creation of maternal and paternal lines, testing of their combination capabilities and finally transition to maintenance breeding.
The creation of lines is the most difficult part of this work.  Programs of crossing and consequent self-pollination are targeted towards union of resistance, quality and yield. This difficult manual work is performed mostly in a greenhouse and in some special cases in the field.  In 2007 we built a smaller greenhouse (Fig. 7, 8, 9, 9a) with a capacity of 2 x 150 plants that is equipped with an automatic temperature control and lighting (cca 15 klx) which enables us growing and pollinating cucumbers even during the winter season.  Annually we grow and pollinate here 2 x 300 + 150 = 750 plants.  In a limited extent with some of our most valuable materials we are capable of producing up to 3 populations in one year which represents savings of up to two years.

Fig. 7 - Breeding greenhouse, size 4 x 21 m. Panorama view.Fig. 8 - Cucumber plants in a greenhouse with artificial lighting, January 2008.
Fig. 9 - Artificially pollinated fruit in the greenhouse, February 2008.Fig. 9a - Harvest of artificially pollinated cucumbers in the greenhouse.

These new materials are then tested for a disease resistance in the Phytotron (mostly against ZYMV now) where tens of progeny are artificially infected (thousands of seedlings generally).  Resistance to downy mildew together with some other quality factors of the selected most resistant  “numbers” are then evaluated in our field nursery (area of 2 ha, approx. 900 – 1000 plots - Fig. 10, 11).

Fig. 10 - Cucumber nursery. In the back you can see materials highly resistant to downy mildew.Fig. 11 - Cucumber nursery. Panorama view, tunnels covered by netted cloth in the back.

Only after several years of this work we can select some of the best “lines”, produce samples of “hybrids” and then during  performance tests (Fig. 12) validate their qualities (disease resistance, fruit quality, fruit yield, etc.).  Few of the selected best hybrid combinations are then furthermore tried in diverse regions by home gardeners and commercial growers. It often takes several years of testing before the best hybrids can be finally registered and introduced to our customers.

Fig. 12 - Extensive yield testing.

Last Updated on Monday, 09 February 2009 18:15

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