EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 41 Segmentation of the oilseed crops market in the past few years has drastically changed the global landscape and obliged breeding companies to adapt their strat- egy to fulfil these new demands. The sunflower crop is definitively a good example, as the segmentation not only refers to input traits useful for improving the profitability of the crop at farmers’ level (herbicide technology, resistance to broomrape or pathogens), but also to output traits requested by the oil indus- try (fatty acid profiles). Even if more lim- ited yet, segmentation is clearly rising in oilseed rape with the continuous develop- ment of Clearfield or HOLL hybrids. The process of creating a variety takes around 10 years, which is too long a period to address these markets’ demands in a timely manner. Building a conversion pro- gram is the most appropriate strategy for a breeding company to successfully face the challenge when a new segment should arise. For characteristics controlled by a single (dominant) trait like broomrape resistance, the process is rather simple and new converted hybrids can be obtained within 2-3 years. It takes more time for complex characters - for example, modifi- CORN, SORGHUM AND OILSEEDS Conversion – A Tool to Answer All Market Segments DIDIER SAUVAIRE Oilseed Crops Business Line Director • Euralis Semences, France cation of fatty acid profile for building high oleic hybrids - as both parents have to be converted, but it remains definitively faster than by classical breeding. Of course, the capacity to use molecular markers, glass house facilities, and winter season nurser- ies, speeds up the process. At Euralis Semences it’s been a long time that we have developed “high throughput” programs for monitoring the introgression of requested traits in our elite germplasm. A quick glance of our current sunflower portfolio clearly demonstrates how that strategy was the good one. Most of our sunflower hybrids bear the best broomrape resistance traits available and we offer a large set of multi- ple stacks with other traits like herbicide resistance and/or high oleic, allowing the European farmers to choose a variety adapted to each segment. According to our experience, we con- sider that four items are key for being suc- cessful. First of all, the breeding company has to define its own priorities in order to allo- cate resources accordingly. Priorities obvi- ously are based on market forecast analysis but also on other specific characteristics From a company’s perspective, it can be selling and commissioning while the client is buying and operating. But is this satisfactory and successful? There is something in between that makes the difference between a highly economical operating plant and a just working plant: it is service. In times where it is impor- tant to considerably reduce good seed loss while preserving high quality seed output by precise sorting processes, and at the same time, skilled operating per- sonnel becomes rare, success is written by clever project planning and managing. We have seen more plants worldwide than most of the plant operators. We have a collection of good ideas. We have SEED PROCESSING AND HANDLING How Can We Help? – The Customized Service Approach MARK SCHOLZE CEO • PETKUS Technologie GmbH a team of experts. Thus, service for us is synonymous with support and solutions. Customer service is more than just the spare part section. It is supporting cus- tomers individually before, during and after a project and taking their specific needs into account. What if you invest into a seed plant project in a foreign country, where you don’t know the legal requirements or the local conditions? You neglect soil condi- tions and seismic influence? You don’t take into account that maybe in 10 years you want or need to process not only maize, but also sunflower and soybean with this plant. Plant projects are not only about seed processing procedures but more about the scope of investment. Does a plant process seeds only or does a technology investment pays back in short terms and reduces future running costs? Service is to have a contact person to ask all those questions. To have a project consultant to set the appropriate scope of the investment for future challenges. To fall back on a laboratory that devel- ops special screen diagrams and program adjustments for your specific needs or develops coating recipes. Service is to improve seed processing quality, effi- ciency and costs by closely cooperating with the technology provider and to profit from experiences. - as for example the strengths/weaknesses of the current portfolio - which means their ranking can’t be same between different companies. The second point to check before starting an introgression work is related to the potential IP restrictions either on the trait of interest or on the molecular tools used. Better to get agreements with IP owners at the beginning of the program! Thirdly, we think it is compulsory to focus the introgression of traits on elite germplasm only. Never forget that yield and general agronomic characteristics are of first importance for the farmer and will be part of the success of the new technology. Lastly, it’s also necessary to regularly analyze the balance between conversions and “creative breeding” activities as only the second one can keep the genetic pro- gress sustainable. Recent segmentation has make the breeding work more complex but provid- ing farmers and industry with varieties adapted to their needs is the normal busi- ness of seed companies and by handling conversions programs, they demonstrated their capacities to successfully answer that new challenge.