Arnika agro-industrial group has its own powerful research centre. The specialists carry out selection work and primary seed-breeding of soybeans, legumes and technical hemp varieties, and practise effective agricultural technologies. The department for selection and seed production of soybeans and grain legumes is effectively functioning within the R&D centre structure.The structure of the R&D centre also includes the selection laboratory, primary seed-breeding laboratory, gene bank laboratory, scientific and technical support laboratory.
In 2017, the department for selection and seed production of soybeans and pulses carried out testing on 32 hectares land plot, 11,850 research plots were sown, which were structured into 15 nurseries. There were 2 nurseries of primary seed production and 13 breeding nurseries (hybridization, gene bank, 1-3 years seed selections, hybrids of younger generations, hybrids of older generations, formation of selections and forms, control hybrids, competitive testing, search for cracking markers and improvement of existing varieties, rare grain legumes — chickpea, lentils, mung bean, caper euphorbia).
The seedling nursery for reproduction of 10 own soybean varieties is located on 58 ha land plot and provides the Arnika enterprises with own quality seeds. The nursery is the basis for the development of organic seed production in Ukraine. In 2017, three new varieties — Geba, Kana and Berkana — with high yield and protein content (up to 42%) entered the soybean seed market.
Algiz variety is being expertised at the State Plant Varieties Testing, and three more varieties are planned to be tested. The main direction of soybean breeding is the search for seeds with adaptive structures that are resistant to drought and heat due to climate change in Ukraine and in the world.
The Company’s material and technical base makes it possible to significantly expand the selection, evaluation, multiplication and maintenance of primary seed farming on the basis of laboratory research in a modern quality control laboratory. Along with this, modernization of the laboratory complex in the near future will accelerate the process of breeding new soybean varieties, based on molecular studies.
Since 2013, seven researchers and PhDs in Economics, Agriculture and Biology have been working in the Company’s team, who together established the Academic Council of the Institute. In accordance with the Regulations, the Council approves the business priorities and the development prospects for the Institute, topics of the research and reports on their implementation, scientific paper publications and recommendations. The Council makes decisions on joining unions, associations, and other research institutions.
The main goal of the scientific and selection work of the department is to breed new soybean varieties that are: - adapted to the growing conditions; - resistant to drought, cracking and lodging; - rich in oil and protein; - appropriate for organic farming and No-till technology; - having a lower bean attachment height of 12 and more centimetres.
As the result of joint scientific research based on the newest Canadian and Serbian genetics, methods of breeding and evaluating new soybean varieties, the following varieties were registered in the State Register of Plant Varieties of Ukraine: - in 2008: VORSKLA, TAVRIYA, INNA; - in 2009: POLTAVA, IRINA, GALINA, POEMA; - in 2011: LYBID, DESNA, CHEREMOSH; - in 2012: KHOROL, KORSAK, TANAIS, KUBAN, TEREK; - in 2013: three new varieties were transferred for varietal testing.