04 Jul 2019

Protecting our food future

Blueleaf cucumber varieties are securing our food future by providing growers with stronger and more reliable plants, and the market with darker and more attractive fruit.

Rijk Zwaan was the first seed breeding company to identify the natural trait of darker leaves and breed this into its Lebanese and long cucumber ranges.

The darker green leaves are a result of higher chlorophyll levels in the plant and this enables Blueleaf varieties to absorb more light and nutrients, meaning the plants respond better to stressful situations like temperature fluctuations and pest and disease pressure.

The range of Blueleaf cucumbers will be on show at the Costa PCA Conference in Brisbane from 7 – 10 July, and Rijk Zwaan’s Technical Sales Representative and high-tech specialist, Phill Ritchie, said Blueleaf varieties are helping to ensure sustainable cucumber production.

“Blueleaf provides longer crops, the leaf is stronger, our varieties offer good resistance packages, and therefore the plants need less fungal spray against certain leaf diseases,” Phill said.

“In the long cucumbers, we already have the strong varieties Litoral RZ and Inyathi RZ, and now Maritimo RZ and Tantalos RZ are two promising varieties coming through that have strong vigour while still retaining a good plant balance.”

In the Lebanese range, Morris RZ, Craig RZ and Lyman RZ are proven Blueleaf performers.

“Craig has sufficient vigour and power to get good root establishment in the cold coming into the heat. For a multi-fruited variety, it’s a special and advantageous characteristic.”

“The other outstanding variety is Lyman RZ for the hot conditions. It's unique in the marketplace because it is so generative and strong and produces very dark fruit.”

In addition to the Blueleaf cucumbers, Rijk Zwaan will be displaying its market leading eggplant, Monarca RZ, as well as its sensational additions to the truss tomato segment.

The truss tomato variety, Endeavour RZ, has achieved a reputation for its balanced plant habit, firm fruit improved flavour and quality. While this particular variety is known for performing in the extreme and variable Australian climate, Rijk Zwaan is looking forward to showcasing the exciting range of truss tomatoes in the pipeline at the PCA Conference.

“We're putting a lot of other large and medium truss varieties on display to show growers. We’ve got a whole range of varieties that we're currently testing and working with and the results look incredibly promising going forward.”

In recent years, eggplant crops have made the move from open field to protected cropping and Rijk Zwaan has been instrumental in working with growers to make the transition successful.

“Monarca is the market standard, it is an outstanding variety that performs exceptional well in the Adelaide, Sydney and Queensland in unheated greenhouse markets. It's an incredibly strong product in the market place.”

Traditionally, eggplants were grown in the field and picked when the fruits were mature, sometimes resulting in fruits with more seeds. Under cover, the fruits are blemish-free, picked younger and smaller and consequently have fewer or no seeds and a more desirable texture.

The move to protected cropping is in line with increased in consumption. According to Nielsen, eggplant popularity is rising fast with an increase of 12.4% in dollar sales in 2018, and 10.8% in terms of kilogram volume. All major retailers have reported seeing a dollar sales growth.

“Moving from the field was a natural progression that we identified with a market partner. You could suggest that working undercover has given such an outstanding product: the skin looks like it plastic because it’s unmarked, and the yields and fruit quality is good. Increased consumption is a fantastic outcome for everyone in the chain,” Phill said.

Visit the Rijk Zwaan stand (19 and 20) at the PCA Conference to hear how Blueleaf and our varieties in eggplant and truss tomatoes can help drive your business.

 

Rijk Zwaan is committed to creating varieties that help support a sustainable farming future. Our goals align to the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, which you can read more about here www.rijkzwaan.com.au/sustainability