Once again the world’s vegetable industry descended on the small Dutch town of Warmenhuizen for Bejo’s annual Open Days, held between the 26th and 30th September. The must sees: our True Potato seed variety Oliver F1, B-Mox, our bee program, carrot experts from all over the world presenting at our Carrot Symposium and a glimpse into the future of Bejo! In 2017 more people than ever visited from around the world, with guests coming from across Asia, the Americas, Africa, Australasia and of course Europe.
Visitors to our Open Days had the chance to see the latest varieties in the field, from our well established crop breeding programmes such as carrots, brassicas and onions (to name just a few), to newer material such as our lettuce and leafy salads. There was also plenty to see in the greenhouse crop selection including tomatoes, peppers and gherkins. Of particular interest were our new set onion ‘Boga’, parsley ‘Prairie’ and white cabbage ‘Report’. Guests were guided around the Open Days with our Bejo Experience App, which used smart phone technology to provide relevant information according to where you were in the field, and also provided up to date times for tours, transport etc.
Millions of bees
In the greenhouse, as well as demonstrations of our protected crop lines, we highlighted the importance of bees to our business, and to farming activities around the world, with a display prepared by Bejo four dedicated beekeepers. As a producer of vegetable seeds, we depend on bees to pollinate our crops: without them there would be no seeds, a fact that has led to us calling them ‘our most important colleagues.’ Bejo uses millions of bees every year for pollinating crops and we have our own apiaries (hives) in countries including the Netherlands, France and Australia, with more than 800 colonies of 20,000-40,000 bees in the Netherlands alone. The display showed how we are looking to use nutrition and better beekeeping techniques to develop more robust colonies, as well as explaining the different roles in the hive of the queen, worker bees and drones.
A glimpse into the future
There was a constant demand for the Seed Quality Tour, which showed visitors the journey that Bejo seeds take from field to final top-quality product. The Seed Quality Tour included our seed cleaning and processing facilities, seed technology laboratory, our research centre and also took in the packaging and storage departments. These tours showcased our state-of-the-art treatment facilities and provided a chance to learn more about our latest B-Mox seed enhancement technology. The tours also provided a glimpse into the future: presenting an overview of our latest investment plans for new warehouse and laboratory facilities, which are being constructed on site between now and 2019.