Unfold Develops Genetics for Vertical Farms
Billions of dollars have been invested in vertical farming technology, which hopes to make the leap from leafy greens to other vegetables. As this industry matures, growers need genetics that are developed specifically for vertical farming systems. That’s why Bayer Crop Science and Temasek formed the joint venture Unfold, and asked John Purcell to be the president and CEO. The vegetable breeding veteran says vertical farming presents new opportunities, particularly because you don’t have to necessarily prioritize pest and disease resistance.
Purcell… “In the case of vertical, because you're completely indoors, you're dramatically reducing the disease presence. You still have to have some resistances built into your genetics, but it's just, you don't have anywhere near the demand you have on the biotic stresses like disease and pests.”
He says this difference in vertical farming allows breeders to focus on quality, efficiency, and a superior eating experience for consumers.
Purcell… “When you're not having to worry so much about some of those external environmental pressures, you can now focus really on the quality that delivers to the consumer level. But you also have to make sure you're turning that crop at a rapid rate, because one of the advantages of vertical is that they do have a rapid cycle as far as getting crop out to consumers. And you also have to make sure that it actually can grow effectively under complete controlled environment conditions.”
Learn more about Unfold at Unfold.ag.