Israeli vegetable seed group Hazera is championing the quality of its round radishes, a product that it says it has become a world leader in thanks to decades of breeding and is becoming "increasingly popular" among consumers.
“Since 1974 we’ve been breeding and selecting round radish varieties, systematically searching for the advantages that markets were demanding," said Wim van der Heijden, global product manager root & bulb crops at Hazera. "In 1987 we made a breakthrough introducing high performance hybrid varieties with higher yields and uniformity. Beside yield and uniformity, we always put much focus on reliability in all growing conditions.”
One of the main focus points today in variety breeding is disease resistance, with Hazera successfully introducing high levels of resistance to Fusarium and to white rust (Albugo candida).
"Especially the last one, introduced in our variety Autella, is a real breakthrough, in line with Hazera’s flow of innovations for the benefit of growers," explained van der Heijden. "Downy mildew is another important resistance that we are bringing to higher levels now.”
Hazera’s breeders work on needs expressed by growers, but also on those of processors, distributors and supermarkets.
“Bulbs should always have high internal quality, and be highly solid," he continued. "Internally they should be nicely and evenly white, and remain so after the product has been cut, for example for use in prepacked salads. Consumers like to have them available year-round, so our breeding extended this spring crop to a real four seasons one. In general good shelf life, nice taste and a fresh appearance are very important and definitely within our breeding scope.”
Another Hazera innovation is the introduction of a completely white round radish hybrid.
“The new white radish, that is also resistant to white rust, enables very nice red-white-green colour combinations on the supermarket shelves, so the product becomes even more attractive.”