Agriculture is in luck. The firm commitment to research in the breeding of new varieties of olive groves by the company BALAM Agriculture and the University of Cordoba has achieved its first commercial result. 'Sultana' is the new variety that is going to revolutionize high density plantings.
"We are convinced that 'Sultana' is a before and after in the production of high density olive groves. We are faced with a variety with a profitability far above all those that have been marketed to date," says Pedro Galvez, partner and director of Services at BALAM Agriculture. "Sultana is the key to the present to face the agriculture of the future. We are convinced that 'Sultana' will reign in high-density olive orchards; whoever bets on this variety today will have a competitive advantage tomorrow."
Yesterday, February 8, 2023, the signing ceremony took place whereby BALAM Agriculture becomes the only supplier for Europe that can commercialize and multiply the 'Sultana' olive variety for the next 30 years. Pomología SL is the company that grants this exclusivity to the Cordovan company.
The event took place in the Board Room of the ETSIAM at the Rabanales University Campus. BALAM Agriculture was represented by Silverio Gálvez, Máximo Cañete, Fran Gálvez, Pedro Gálvez and Teresa Carrillo. The UCOLIVO group, breeder of the variety, was represented by Carlos Trapero, Pedro Valverde and Concepción Muñoz, researchers from the María de Maeztu Unit of Excellence - Department of Agronomy of the UCO (DAUCO), directed by Professor Emilio Camacho. Diego Barranco and Luis Rallo represented Pomología SL, a company in which the UCO participates, in charge of the management of its olive varieties. The event was also attended by the Vice-Rector for Innovation and Transfer of the UCO, Lourdes Arce and the Director of the ETSIAM, Rosa Gallardo.
WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SULTANA?
This new variety presents a series of agronomic characteristics that "have made it the bet of the University, as well as BALAM Agriculture, to present it in society and put it on the market for the revolution it represents," says Pedro Valverde, DAUCO researcher. "'Sultana' is the genotypic result of crossing the variety 'Arbosana' as the female parent and 'Sikitita' as the male parent. It is worth mentioning that the latter is the result of another cross between the 'Picual' and 'Arbequina' varieties. This means that Sultana has the best of each variety," Valverde explains.
"Sultana' is characterized by its early ripening and early entry into production; it has a good fat yield; due to its size and vigor it is perfectly adapted to high density production and its fruit is larger than the rest of the varieties for this type of plantations. In addition, the oil is of very high quality". This is the letter of introduction with which Valverde shows 'Sultana', which for his entire team "represents a great goal achieved as a reward for the work of many years".
In addition to the characteristics already mentioned, it is worth mentioning that "being a very early variety, it will allow the farmer to position an oil of great quality in the market, ahead of other plantations with other varieties", Pedro Gálvez pointed out.
GENETIC IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
Galpagro, which together with CBH, gave life to what is now BALAM Agriculture, has been committed to research and development for many years. With the help of the University of Cordoba, it implemented its own genetic improvement program.
"Having 'Sultana' as a variety ready for commercialization is for BALAM Agriculture a very important milestone and a great contribution of our R&D department to the olive sector. In 'Sultana' we have seen characteristics that have stood out from the more than 1,400 genotypes that have gone through the different evaluation phases," says Teresa Carrillo, PhD in Agricultural Engineering and head of the R&D department.
Within the line of collaboration between UCO and BALAM Agriculture for the genetic improvement of olive varieties, "the agreement has been extended to incorporate 1,500 new genotypes to the 1,400 that were already being evaluated and among which we already have several candidates with very interesting characteristics for the market", explains Carrillo.
The CEOs of BALAM Agriculture, Silverio Gálvez and Máximo Cañete, made it clear at the event that "throughout all these years we have made a great commitment to research and we have been very ambitious by submitting so many genotypes to study", explained Silverio Gálvez. At the same time, Cañete wanted to make public that "without the support, involvement and knowledge of our University this type of projects are unfeasible. Today a variety for the agriculture of the future is born for the market".