AgroFresh Solutions, Inc., a leader in produce freshness solutions, has introduced LandSpring™, a 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) technology for use on transplanted vegetable seedlings. LandSpring, currently registered for use on tomato and pepper crops, reduces transplant shock resulting in lower seedling mortality and faster crop establishment, which leads to a healthier crop and improved yields.
Transplant shock is a widely recognized problem for vegetable growers and is caused by planting sensitive seedlings into the field environment where they often encounter stress conditions from heat, wind, cold, and high solar radiation. Stressed seedlings produce ethylene, which causes a reduction in seedling survival and slows crop establishment. These effects ultimately limit plant performance and negatively impact marketable yield. By blocking ethylene recognition, LandSpring leads to faster crop establishment and healthier plants that show better tolerance to stress and disease throughout the growing season.
“LandSpring pre-transplanting technology delivers significant yield benefits to tomato and pepper growers, allowing them to achieve a superior return from their crop investment,” said Dr. Nance Dicciani, Chair of the Board of AgroFresh. “With a 15% yield improvement in our tomato grower trials, this is a step change in functionality and a significant breakthrough in yield-enhancing technology.
“The expansion of our 1-MCP portfolio with the LandSpring launch is an important step for AgroFresh as it broadens our technology footprint into new crop categories and new markets,” Dr. Dicciani continued. “It is further proof of our industry-leading strategy and provides multiple avenues for growth for our existing pipeline. We expect a modest level of sales from LandSpring during the 2016 launch phase, but anticipate that LandSpring will grow in potential as we expand distribution globally.”
According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, approximately 14.6 million tons of processing tomatoes were harvested in the United States in 2014, with a collective value of more than $1.32 billion. The U.S. fresh market tomato annual harvest is approximately 27.3 million pounds with a value of $1.14 billion. Additionally, approximately 2 million pounds of bell and chili peppers were grown in the U.S. in 2014, with the total crop valued at more than $800 million.
LandSpring trials were conducted with roughly a dozen major U.S. growers in the Southeastern U.S., including several in Florida, the largest fresh tomato market in the country. In addition, several trials are in progress in California, which, together with Florida, accounts for two-thirds of the U.S. tomato acreage.
The product is applied by seedling nurseries using an automated overhead watering system that moves back and forth across the planthouse to irrigate the crop and apply crop protectants.
LandSpring is currently being shipped for application in the U.S. beginning this month. While AgroFresh’s current registration for LandSpring is only for use on tomatoes and peppers, the technology has potential benefits for all transplanted vegetables. Additional U.S. registrations on melons, cucumbers, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are expected over the next few years.