Seed breeders are working to bring you varieties with the qualities you need to produce a great crop that consumers will want to buy.
After a recent trip to fields in California and Ohio to visit with representatives from Syngenta, Sakata Seed America, and Rupp Seeds, American Vegetable Grower® magazine learned about several new varieties that offer long shelflife, great taste, and the ability to withstand disease pressure. Check ’em out!
SYNGENTA, WOODLAND, CA
‘Astound’ and ‘Accolade’
New Eastern shipper melons — ‘Astound’ and ‘Accolade’ — feature firm flesh, extended shelflife, and good holding ability in the field. According to Bert Stoddard, Cucurbits Product Lead at Syngenta, both also feature a strong disease resistance package, including resistance to Fusarium wilt races 0, 1, and 2, and powdery mildew races 1 and 2.
‘Gold Crown’ is Syngenta’s new Western shipper melon with high resistance to Fusarium wilt races 0 and 2, and intermediate resistance to powdery mildew. This variety, which is slightly larger than ‘Gold Express,’ is tolerant to sulfur and features an oval shape with a well-netted exterior. Stoddard says it is suited to California’s San Joaquin Valley and matures in 85 days.
MS3303, MS4186, MS4313, and MS4344
These four varieties are in the trial phase. A new Harper type, MS3303 is a good performer. In its first year of trials, it has shown good disease resistance to Fusarium wilt races 0, 1, and 2, powdery mildew and cotton aphid, and it has sulfur tolerance, Stoddard says.
MS4186 and MS4344, slated for introduction in late 2017, also show promise. These Harper types have resistance to Fusarium wilt and powdery mildew.
MS4313 is part of Syngenta’s global program and has good field-holding capabilities and boasts a high level of sugar.
In the watermelon department, ‘Sweet Dawn’ was released for sales this past season. It has a classic rind and is a 36- to 45-count fruit, but can have a few 60 count. It has intermediate resistance to Fusarium wilt race 1 and Anthracnose race 1.
It matures in 74 days, which is about a week before ‘Fascination,’ says Chris Hahn, a Syngenta Watermelon Breeder.
‘Excursion,’ formerly WDL2413, is being introduced this season. This variety can be harvested one to two days earlier than ‘Fascination,’ maturing in about 81 days. It weighs between 17 and
22 pounds and has intermediate resistance to Fusarium wilt race 1 and Anthracnose race 1.
Syngenta is also working on varieties that will be resistant to Fusarium wilt race 2, which has been a major problem for growers recently. The challenge, Hahn says, is developing a variety that performs well and also has resistance to race 2.
“We are doing wider trials of race 2 experimental varieties in the East and the West
and we will continue to work on it as race 2 is an important trait in the watermelon breeding program,” Hahn says.
A new squash variety on the horizon is ‘Grandprize’ (formerly SN0013). Syngenta
Squash Breeder Les Padley says the plan is to have the variety available in the fall 2017. ‘Grandprize’ is for East and West production and has resistance to zucchini yellow mosaic virus, watermelon mosaic virus, and powdery mildew. It is a creamy yellow straightneck that grows on an erect plant. “It looks beautiful from the day it is blooming to the day it is harvested,” Padley adds.
RPP705 and RPP867
Two newer bell pepper varieties include RPP705 and RPP867. RPP705 boasts a dark color and is slated for release next year. According to Gabriel Castaneda, Product Evaluating Officer for Peppers, RPP867 is a heavy pepper that is best suited for the processing market. Both varieties are resistant to tomato spotted wilt virus.
RFT712622 and RFT711734
Tomatoes also were part of the conversation. Two new varieties Sundrish Sharma, a Tomato Breeder at Syngenta, talked about were RFT712622 and RFT711734.
“We were looking at what we can bring that is different than our traditional hybrids
and the solution that we have identified that is under trialing is RFT712622,” Sharma explains. “It offers both yield and size uniformity and nice fruit set.”
He adds that in packout trials, RFT712622 is showing better performance than other commercial hybrids in the marketplace. Both RFT712662 and RFT711734 have tomato spotted wilt and nematode resistance.