Pop Vriend Seeds
How does intensive cooperation with breeding companies bear fruit? And what could be improved? Ad Ordelman of Agri Information Partners talked to Frank van Kampen of Pop Vriend Seeds about the breeding software E-Brida. “I think it’s great that all the trial data are now in one place,” he says.
Pop Vriend Seeds (PVS) is a breeding company with about eighty employees and is based in Andijk. The company focuses on the vegetable crops spinach and beans and recently also on beet and carrot. Pop Vriend Seeds exists for over sixty years and has traditionally been a family business. The company was recently acquired by KWS.
Frank has worked at PVS for nearly eight years, breeding beans, particularly for Europe and Oceania. These beans PVS breeds for both the fresh market and the industrial market. The industrial market consists of almost everything sold in a can, jar and or in frozen form, also called canning and freezing.
PVS distinguishes itself with its knowledge of the products and with the speed of response to market demands and orders. “This is only possible because there are short lines in the organization”, Frank points out. Especially in the spinach crop, new genetics are brought to the market as quickly as possible, which sets PVS apart from other suppliers.
E-Brida works ‘addictively’
PVS began using breeding software E-Brida seven years ago. In the early years, this software was mainly focused on application in ornamentals, Frank notes. In recent years, so many new functionalities have been added that this software now also provides excellent support for vegetable breeding at PVS. Currently, E-Brida is part of the standard work process at PVS.
Frank is an enthusiastic user of E-Brida. “New functions are added regularly that offer new possibilities,” says Frank. “All observations are made via the tablet and stored in E-Brida. There is no longer a field book in use. All the data is in a database.
“It’s just great that all the trial data are in one place”
Frank rates the use of the tablet with a big plus: “Taking pictures with the E-Brida Field App is addictive,” he says. “It’s super that the photos come directly to the right place in the family tree instead of being hidden somewhere on a network folder.”
PVS is currently running a pilot with phenotyping using drone recordings. Frank is not directly involved because this pilot is being conducted in spinach. Spinach is more suited as a pilot crop for this technology, but Frank hopes this technique will soon become available for beans as well. “There will actually be data points taken from the drone shots that will be available directly in E-Brida,” he said.
In evaluating beans, many factors affect the performance of a variety, Frank says. Consider, for example, differences in soil structure. “A sand bank or an old ditch can disturb the observations quite a bit. With drone imagery, you could map a trial field and make corrections where necessary.”
E-Brida is used within PVS for research. Once a variety becomes “experimental,” then the tests are evaluated with Mercado. From the moment a variety enters the demo phase, testing is also done with customers. Based on the results of the tests, it is decided whether a variety will actually become commercial.
PVS uses Mercado to record all product characteristics for bean. The variety is described so that the product information is available to all employees in the company. Frank is pleased with the user-friendliness of Mercado in combination with the Mercado Trials app.
He likes the cooperation with AIP. “I think they are nice people, with whom you can make good agreements,” he says. He especially appreciates the honesty and transparency in the cooperation. “Even if things don’t work out, we hear it. A solution is always provided.”
“A solution is always sought for the customer”
Making a variety can be compared to developing software. Both processes attempt to create a product that meets the customer’s needs. But it is difficult to come to a complete match with the wishes. Frank “There is always something left to be desired. It’s good to express that to each other as well.”
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