When the Danish farmers took up sugar beet growing in the 1870s it was based on imported sugar beet seed. However, The Danish Sugar Factories soon started their own breeding and development of sugar beet seed, which was again given up in 1903.
At the outbreak of World War I, the Danish sugar production was therefore still depending on imported sugar beet seed. Due to supply problems during the war, The Danish Sugar Factories decided to reassume their sugar beet breeding and production. This led to the establishment of Maribo Seed in 1920.
The revolutionary MARIBO varieties
1928 saw the introduction of our first competitive sugar beet variety, MARIBO-N.
In the 1930s, we succeeded in developing the first tetraploid sugar beet. This gave a good lead to our competitors, so in 1949, when another seed company applied for a patent on a polyploid sugar beet, this was rejected as such varieties were already in trial by the official Danish trial authorities! The first polyploid sugar beet variety to dominate the world market in the 1950s was therefore MARIBO-P.
In 1969 we introduced monogerm varieties and at the same time marketed the seed pellet. This combination represented a major step forward and revolutionised the cultivation of sugar beet. From the start it was a huge success, because it meant that the demanding work of singling the plants in the field disappeared at once.
We have also been at the forefront of developing Rhizomania resistant varieties. Already in 1960 we started breeding for resistance to this disease in Italy and registered the world’s first resistant variety in 1982. Since then, Rhizomania tolerant varieties have been developed for all countries affected by this disease.
Since the early 1990s we have targeted our research at changing the shape and surface of the roots to reduce the soil tare. By the end of the 1990s this new sugar beet was for the first time officially trialled by the Danish trial authorities. Today, we are leading the way in changing the root shape without compromising the quality of the beet.
The MARIBO® brand
The sugar beet seed is sold under the MARIBO® brand, and for many years MARIBO was part of our company name - MARIBO is therefore a well-known name in the sugar beet business.
However, in 1989 when The Danish Sugar Factories joined the Danisco group, they changed into Danisco Sugar, and we took up the name Danisco Seed.
In 2009 we were acquired by Syngenta and renamed Maribo Seed.
1 October 2017 we were acquired by DLF and named MariboHillesög.