The soya crop was introduced in Switzerland at the end of the 1980s. The research station Agroscope, however, started breeding soya already in 1981. Delley seeds and plant (DSP) Ltd is co-owner of the varieties from the breeding program of Agroscope ACW and is in charge of the maintenance breeding, the production of basic seed and the distribution of varieties. In addition, DSP Ltd is engaged in the official Swiss variety trials.
The objective of the soya breeding program at Agroscope is to develop GMO-free varieties, which are adapted to the climatic conditions north of the Alps (Central Europe) and to the requirements of the market. Varieties with large, uncoloured grains and a good flavouring profile, for example, are preferentially used for food products because of a better consumer acceptance. With respect to adaptation to the climatic condition, early maturity is a key selection criterion that plays a crucial role in the breeding program by Agroscope.
Even though early maturity is a key criterion, late maturing material is specifically included in the breeding process in order to increase the genetic variability of the breeding pool. Hence, late maturing lines may arise. The promising ones of these late maturing lines are tested in warmer climates France and Italy. Three varieties, Castétis, Paco and Totem were successfully included in the variety catalogue in Italy so far.