Cutting-edge technology and robotics for horticulture was the core of our recent Breeders & Young Plant Producers Conference which took place on 4-5 December in Wageningen (NL). Approx. 80 breeders, young plant producers and distributors attended our exciting two-day event around the central theme "science in horticulture". In addition to participants from the Netherlands, colleagues from Germany, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Poland and the U.K. also made the trip to Wageningen.

Corner stone of the programme was a visit to KeyGene, crop innovation specialist. The company increases the quality and yield of certain crops by means of molecular breeding. This non-GMO based approach is the fastest and most budget-friendly way to help breeders in horticulture introduce improved crops. Anker Sørensen: "We use the CRISPR-CAS technology to detect the specific gene we want to alter. We then revert to classical molecular techniques to achieve the desired genetic improvements."

The programme was IMG 6584 Sweeper 266px3also jointly coordinated with the Wageningen University & Research. Erik Pekkeriet, senior manager business development, informed us on the latest developments in the field of robotics for crop production. Anja Dieleman, senior scientist plant physiology, gave an inspirational lecture on the role of LED in sustainable breeding and presented some recent research results with 'far red' light.

Bock Bio Science, German breeder in Phalaenopsis and Helleborus, presented their fully automated and Taspo-Award winning propagation system RoBoCut.

Ruud Brinkkemper, General Manager PanAmerican Seed, explained how his breeding team succeeded in integrating resistance against Downy Mildew in the new Impatiens walleriana 'Beacon'. The lecture of Deborah Nas, professor Strategic Design for Technology-based Innovation at the Technical University of Delft was the cherry on the cake. By means of examples throughout history, she outlined the ambiguous love-hate relationship between men and technological innovations and presented some upcoming horticultural trends.

High quality visits, top notch speakers and extensive networking, a winning formula!