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The process to enable a plant to grow to its fullest potential, begins with years of seed development, trials, breeding and feedback by farmers. Companies desiring to attain success in the challenging South African market, have to understand the heart and purse of the farmer, have access to the world’s best technology, and ensure that it will work under local conditions.
Inteliseed offers this full package as part of the Intelichem Group and as sole distributor in South Africa of the products of the top international company, Syngenta Seeds. Recently vegetable growers had opportunity to inspect new and proven cultivars near Brits, and to discuss their problems, needs and successes with the fundi’s.
ProAgri interviewed a number of the plant experts:
Frikkie Janse van Rensburg says the new lettuce varieties display improved leaf mass, good quality leaves, while the heads have smaller centres and less white rib in the leaves. A tendency with speciality lettuce is to move towards a one-cut lettuce for faster packing, or to allow the housewife to dish it up quicker in the salad bowl.
Amongst the Crisphead types, Icevic promises strong disease resistance and a decent, large head for the box market. Ice Wave also shines with a head of up to 600 g and good sun resistance. Waikiki has an attractive, well-proportioned head with a small centre that allows a flat cut and makes a beautiful display in a pre-pack.
Boltardy is the beetroot to plant if you want an even deep red colour in an attractive round beet with a uniform globe size. This beetroot is suitable for mechanical harvesting because of the small leaf attachment. It also has a small root attachment, which enhances the attractive rounder display.
In the cauliflower market Korlanu is a star for the fresh market as well as processing. The neat, big cover foliage protects the curd against sunburn. It is a quick grower with a strong curd formation.
Spacestar offers dependable, predictable production; also in warmer regions. It is very popular amongst processors because of the long florets in the curd.
Amongst the cabbages Reball is a more attractive red with excellent internal quality. A head may weigh as much as 1,5 kg. It also serves well as baby cabbage packed in punnets. Farmers have to pay special attention to the planting time of cabbage – when you plant late winter cabbage in summer, you’re a bungler.
Klabishi wants to be in the seedbed from July to September to produce an attractive 4 kg head for the pocket market. It offers resistance against cracking and black rot. In winter Novoton remains the stalwart for the processing market with a head of 5-plus kg.
Intello fared extremely well in the trials at Brits under very difficult conditions with plentiful rain, followed by excessive heat. It showed natural resistance against black rot.
Tinus Stigling, dealing with butternuts, encouraged growers to pay attention to Proxxis for commercial production for the fresh market. He expects that Proxxis could dethrone the competition as it grows somewhat faster and ensures a very good yield.
For the processing market S9080 is still in a testing phase, but it compares well with its predecessors regarding size and yield. Processors demand the long, uniform, smooth neck for ease in processing.
Amongst the sweetcorn Garrison is a new cultivar for pre-packing, says Jurgens Bester. The mealie offers a solid package against leaf diseases, requires a growing period of 79 days, and is recommended country-wide for planting in summer at a plant stand of 55 000 tot 60 000 plants/hectare. Expected yield can be 15 to 16 t/ha, but the harvesting window is limited – the grower has 5 to 10 days’ harvesting time if indentation because of the high sugar content is to be prevented. In the Bushveld region harvesting could possibly be undertaken within 70 days.
Moreland is a multi-ear super sweet variety which requires approximately 85 days on the land. It is suitable for punnet packaging and processing with ears that can weigh as much as 350 g. It has a complete disease resistance package and yield can be 17 to 20 t/ha. Shinerock is a strong, aggressive grower with ears positioning making it ideal for mechanical harvesting. It is especially suitable for processing with a growing period of 85 to 90 days for an ear size of up to 380 g and neat, full cobs. Yield is approximately 22 t/ha at a plant stand of 60 000. All these sweetcorn varieties are cultivated under irrigation.
Tienie Joubert says amongst the saladettes Sahariana is the red star. Sahariana has an extended disease resistance portfolio of which resistance against whitefly is noteworthy. The tomato plant grows into an unlimited bush and in trials on open land yielded an average of 8 to 12 kg per plant, totalling 80 to 120 t/ha.
There are two new varieties under the round tomatoes: Dylla en Ozone, both special because of their resistance against fusarium 3 – a rather new headache for tomato growers. Farmers should furthermore not forget about Jimbo, the old stalwart. Jimbo does especially well in the Brits area and generally has excellent virus resistance. It has natural vigour, a long growing cycle, and bears big fruit of excellent quality.
Barry Erasmus says farmers should keep their eyes open for a green bean variety showing excellent promise – Desperado. He expects this variety to fare well as fresh market choice.
Momentum is recommended for the fresh market as well as processing. Syngenta’s focus is on field beans, not runners. One of the reasons is that mechanical harvesting is fast becoming more popular. Consequently it is important that the beans should mature simultaneously so that at least 70% can be machine-picked. Where hand-picking is utilised, this also saves on labour because a maximum of three pickings is required.